Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his first official visit to the Middle East, travelled to Israel just days after a truce ended 11 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel. The violence caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and killed more than 250 people, most of them Palestinians.
During a visit to Ramallah, Secretary Blinken announced that the United States is in the process of providing over $110 million in assistance to the Palestinian people, for a total of over $360 million in aid announced since March of this year.
“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” he said.
The announcement includes $38 million in new assistance to support humanitarian efforts in the West Bank and Gaza. Nearly $33 million of these funds will go to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, in support of its West Bank and Gaza operations. An additional $5.5 million will go to other humanitarian partners in Gaza.
Working with the U.S. Congress, the U.S. State Department and USAID will provide $75 million in the coming year in development and economic assistance to support relief and recovery in the West Bank and Gaza.This funding is an addition to the $75 million announced on April 7.
“All of these funds will be administered in a way that benefits the Palestinian people — not Hamas, which has only brought misery and despair to Gaza,” said Secretary Blinken.
“U.S. foreign assistance for the Palestinian people serves important U.S. interests and values. It provides critical relief to those in great need, fosters economic development, and supports Israeli-Palestinian understanding, security coordination, and stability. It also aligns with the values and interests of our allies and partners,” he said.
“The United States will continue to encourage other donors to support humanitarian and recovery efforts in the West Bank and Gaza, and programs and activities that work toward a common goal of stability and progress for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”