Renewing US aid to Palestinians, Biden administration to send $15m in COVID aid
Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announces that Washington will be sending $15 million in COVID-related humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, in what will be the first such funds transferred under the Biden administration, which has vowed to restore financial assistance to the Palestinians.
“With this assistance, the US Agency for International Development is supporting Catholic Relief Services’ COVID-19 response efforts in healthcare facilities and for vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza,” Thomas-Greenfield says in an address to the UN Security Council’s monthly briefing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, her first as envoy. “In addition, this assistance will support emergency food assistance programming to communities facing food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This urgent, necessary aid is one piece of our renewed commitment to the Palestinian people. The aid will help Palestinians in dire need, which will bring more stability and security to both Israelis and Palestinians alike. That’s consistent with our interests and our values, and it aligns with our efforts to stamp out the pandemic and food insecurity worldwide,” she adds.
Plans to send the aid package were first reported earlier this month by The National, which retrieved an internal Biden administration memo outlining its initial policy approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Thomas-Greenfield also uses the opportunity to address what she views as the Security Council’s disproportionate focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“There are other issues in the region that are threats to international peace and security and deserve more of this council’s attention,” she says.