On August 1st, a memorandum of understanding was signed in Washington, D.C. by the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Henrietta Fore, and Ziad Asali, the founder and chairman of the American Charities for Palestine.
"The arrangement is the first mechanism of its kind, and we are very proud of this historic step. American Charities for Palestine will raise American charitable contributions and will work with USAID to direct these funds to support ongoing projects in the field," said Ms. Fore.
The USAID-ACP partnership will assure that philanthropic contributions are not diverted into the hands of opponents of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "Through ACP, and as a result of this memorandum of understanding, generous Americans can donate to Palestinian development with confidence that their money will go to worthwhile projects in accordance with U.S. law," said American Charities for Palestine chairman Asali. Mr. Asali noted that the first step has been taken. "Our immediate next step," he said, "is to finalize robust administrative and financial structures to carry out our mission forward."
The private donations will be used mainly for health and education projects. "Whether it is our emergency medical assistance programs, maternal and child health care programs, our early education activities, or the education initiatives that are part of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership," said USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore, "USAID is actively committed to improving the lives of Palestinians."
Mr. Asali said the health and education sectors are "essential for building the foundations of a Palestinian state as part of the visions of an end of conflict based on two states – Palestine and Israel – living side by side in peace and security."
Since 1993, Palestinians have received more than two billion dollars in U.S. economic assistance via USAID projects, more than from any other donor country. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said "there can be no greater legacy for America than to help to bring into being a Palestinian state for a people who have suffered too long, who have been humiliated too long, who have not reached their potential for too long, and who have so much to give to the international community and to all of us."