US sending new aid to Palestinians as conflict intensifies
Biden administration will send millions of dollars to Palestine to promote conflict resolution with Israel
The Biden administration notified the US Congress this week that it will send millions of dollars in assistance to the Palestinians to promote peace with Israel, as violence between the two sides continues.
As the conflict intensifies despite US calls for restraint, President Joe Biden's administration notified Congress on Thursday it will provide $10 million to Palestinian groups in the West Bank and Gaza to support exchange and reconciliation projects with Israelis.
The aid recipients were not named.
The State Department on Friday said the money is part of more than $100m the administration allocated to the Palestinians earlier this year, reversing a near total cut-off in support under former president Donald Trump.
In a notice to members of Congress obtained by The Associated Press, the US Agency for International Development said the $10m would go to support “people-to-people efforts to bring together conflict-affected groups to address divisions that may be rooted in group differences such as ethnicity, religion, status, class or political affiliation in areas affected by conflict and civil war”.
It said the money would be spent mainly on cross-border projects between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, but might also include programmes for Jews and Arabs living in Israel.
The fighting between the two sides has been intensifying over the last few days, with Hamas launching rocket attacks into Israel and the Israeli military responding with air strikes. Violence between Arabs and Jews within Israel is also on the rise.
"Palestinians – including in Gaza – and Israelis equally deserve to live in dignity, safety and security. No family should have to fear for their safety within their own home or place of worship," Mr Biden said on Friday.
"We think most about the children in these societies who face trauma from a conflict far beyond their control.
"My administration will continue to engage Palestinians, Israelis and other regional partners to work towards a sustainable calm."
Mr Biden has sent senior diplomat Hady Amr to Israel in a bid to help de-escalate the fighting. Mr Amr arrived on Friday.
The Biden administration has made no secret of its belief that Mr Trump’s approach to the Middle East, which alienated the Palestinians, was flawed and made prospects for peace less likely.
The administration has announced $130m in assistance to the Palestinians, which appears aimed at encouraging them to return to negotiations with Israel.
Updated: May 15, 2021 10:22 AM