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U.S. restores aid to Palestinians nixed by Trump

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The Biden administration on Wednesday announced it would send at least $235 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinians, restoring funding cut off by former President Donald Trump.

"U.S. foreign assistance for the Palestinians serves important U.S. interests and values."

The aid will flow primarily to the United Nations Relief Works Agency, or UNRWA, which provides schools, food and shelter to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Speaking to Reuters in the Jordanian capital, the head of UNRWA said the funds couldn't come soon enough.

“The situation has been absolutely terrible, and there was a feeling of abandonment from the international community.”

The package is part of an effort to repair U.S. ties with the Palestinians that all but collapsed during Trump’s tenure.

The Trump administration blocked nearly all aid after it severed ties with the Palestinian Authority in 2018.

That move was widely seen as an attempt to force the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel on terms the Palestinian leadership said would deny them a viable state.

Biden’s aides have also signaled that they want to re-establish the goal of a negotiated two-state solution as a priority in U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians, in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right of course, but also as a means to advance

But they have moved cautiously so far, and any major steps are likely to wait for the dust to clear after Israel's inconclusive March election, which will be followed by Palestinian elections scheduled in coming months.

Video Transcript

- The Biden administration on Wednesday announced it would send at least $235 million in US aid to the Palestinians, restoring funding cut off by former President Donald Trump.

- US foreign assistance for the Palestinians serves important US interests and values.

- The aid will flow primarily to the United Nations Relief Works Agency or UNRWA, which provides schools, food and shelter to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Speaking to Reuters in the Jordanian capital, the head of UNRWA on Wednesday said the funds couldn't come soon enough.

- The situation has been absolutely terrible, and there was a feeling of abandonment from the International community.

- The package is part of an effort to repair US ties with the Palestinians that all but collapsed during Trump's tenure. The Trump administration blocked nearly all aid after it severed ties with the Palestinian Authority in 2018. That move was widely seen as an attempt to force the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel on terms the Palestinian leadership said would deny them a viable state. Biden's aides have also signaled that they want to reestablish the goal of a negotiated two-state solution as a priority in US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

- The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right, of course, but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution.

- But they have moved cautiously so far, and any major steps are likely to wait for the dust to clear after Israel's inconclusive March election, which will be followed by Palestinian elections scheduled in coming months.