Reversing Trump, Biden restores aid to Palestinians

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A senior Palestinian official praised the move, but said the Palestinian leadership, based in Ramallah, still hoped Mr. Biden would reverse several other measures taken by the Trump administration.

“This is a positive, important and constructive step in the direction of the rectification of the Palestinian-American relations, which the Trump administration has destroyed,” said Ahmad Majdalani, the Minister of Social Development of the Palestinian Authority. “We believe it can be developed by addressing other outstanding issues.”

Senator Jim Risch of Idaho and Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, both Republicans, criticized the move in a joint statement, saying “the resumption of assistance to the West Bank and Gaza without concessions from the Authority Palestinian compromises American interests ”.

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They added that they would review the package to ensure it did not violate the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits the United States from providing direct economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops. payments to families of Palestinians who commit violence against Israelis or Americans.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday the funding was “absolutely in accordance” with US law. He said any aid going to the West Bank and Gaza would come through “development partners” and “not through governments or de facto government authorities.”

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Numerous aid groups have criticized the Trump administration for denying the UN agency the money it was waiting for, which plunged it into a financial crisis. Other countries helped fill part of the deficit, but the agency continued to operate under severe financial constraints.

United Nations officials were clearly ready to receive news of the resumption of aid before it was officially announced. Asked about the Biden administration’s plan, United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that “there were a number of countries that had significantly reduced or halted their contributions”, and that “we hope that the American decision will lead others to become UNRWA donors. “

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