For COVID-19 $15m give to Palestinians : US

Giving $15m to vulnerable Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a sharp reversal from the Trump administration which cut off almost all aid to the Palestinians.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the announcement at the United Nations Security Council’s monthly Middle East meeting, saying the money from the US Agency for International Development will support Catholic Relief Services’ “COVID-19 response efforts in healthcare facilities and for vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza”.

In addition, she 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.”

‘Consistent with US interests’

Under former US President Donald Trump, the US provided unprecedented support to Israel, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv, breaking relations and slashing financial assistance for the Palestinians.

The Trump administration also reversed course on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians. It did restore about $1m in aid during the pandemic last year.
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