The US intends to restore aid to the Palestinian people because a previous suspension under former President Donald Trump has “only harmed innocent Palestinians,” the State Department said Tuesday.
“The suspension of aid to the Palestinian people has neither produced political progress nor secured concessions from the Palestinian leadership.
It has only harmed innocent Palestinians,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said during a briefing with reporters.
Under Trump, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington, DC was shuttered, and US aid was suspended for accusations that the funds were being used for terrorist acts.
That resulted in a $350 million funding gap for the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
But Biden has previously committed to restoring the aid, and Price doubled down on the US president’s intention to do so.
“The US does intend to restore humanitarian assistance to Palestinian people, not as a favor, but it is in the interest of the US to do so,” Price said.
Price added that the US would work to “galvanize” the international community to meet its obligations toward Palestine, including in the field of humanitarian assistance.
As a sign of Biden’s intention to alter US policy on Palestine as it was under the Trump administration, Hady Amr was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs.
On Tuesday, Price revealed that Amr was already making “a range of calls” with officials in Palestine and Israel.
“Discussions have started,” Price said, without elaborating.