Washington (QNN)- The United States said on Thursday it is giving $15 million to Palestinians in the occupied west Bank and Gaza Strip to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a sharp reversal from the Trump administration which cut off almost all aid to the Palestinians, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the announcement at the U.N. Security Council’s monthly Mideast meeting.
She said the money from the U.S. Agency for International Development will support Catholic Relief Services’ “COVID-19 response efforts in health care facilities and for vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza.”
She also said the funds will support emergency food aid to communities in need as a result of the pandemic.
“This urgent, necessary aid is one piece of our renewed commitment to the Palestinian people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“The aid will help Palestinians in dire need, which will bring more stability and security to both Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Under former U.S. President Donald Trump, the U.S. provided unprecedented support to the occupation state of ‘Israel’, recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, breaking relations and slashed financial assistance for the Palestinians.
The Trump administration also reversed course on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.
The U.S. President Joe Biden administration announced that it was restoring relations with the Palestinians and renewing aid to Palestinian refugees, a reversal of Trump’s cut off.
Thomas-Greenfield said the $15 million in aid is “consistent with our interests and our values, and it aligns with our efforts to stamp out the pandemic and food insecurity worldwide.”
She made the announcement as ‘Israel’ awaits the final results from Tuesday’s fourth parliamentary elections in two years.
The U.S. announcement also follows a virtual meeting on Thursday of the Middle East quartet of mediators, the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, as they discussed reviving “meaningful negotiations” between ‘Israel’ and Palestine with the aim of a two-state solution.
Both ‘Israel’ and the Palestinians need “to refrain from unilateral actions that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” said the quartet in a statement.
The US previously said that it’s looking to ‘reset’ relations with the Palestinians with a plan that includes $15 million in COVID-19 assistance, as an internal memo obtained exclusively by The National and was raised to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on March 1, by acting assistant secretary of state for near eastern Affairs Joey Hood.
Thomas-Greenfield made no mention of a Quartet meeting but reiterated Biden’s support for a two-state solution and said “the United States looks forward to continuing its work with Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community to achieve a long-sought peace in the Middle East.”
(Source / 26.03.2021)