US restores aid to UNRWA with $150 million in funds; Israel ‘disappointed’

The United States says it is restoring assistance to the Palestinians severed under former president Donald Trump with an announcement of $235 million.

President Joe Biden’s administration says the United States will again support the UN agency caring for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, with a contribution of $150 million.

The United States will also offer $75 million in economic and development assistance for the West Bank and Gaza and $10 million for peacebuilding efforts.

“US foreign assistance for the Palestinian people serves important US interests and values. It provides critical relief to those in great need, fosters economic development and supports Israeli-Palestinian understanding, security coordination and stability,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan responds that Jerusalem “is strongly opposed to the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity happening in UNRWA’s facilities” and says the agency incites against Israel and “should not exist in its current format. ”

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan in his New York office on October 13, 2020. (Israeli Mission to the UN)

He says he has “expressed my disappointment and objection to the decision to renew UNRWA’s funding without first ensuring that certain reforms, including stopping the incitement and removing anti-Semitic content from its educational curriculum, are carried out.”