Men unloading bags from truck (© Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees prepare food aid for delivery to refugee families in Gaza City on June 2, 2020. (© Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

The United States is helping Palestinians fight the COVID-19 pandemic and build long-term peace, stability and prosperity.

On April 7, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the restoration of humanitarian, economic and development assistance for Palestinians. U.S. foreign assistance “provides critical relief to those in great need, fosters economic development, and supports Israeli-Palestinian understanding, security coordination and stability,” he said.

Blinken announced $75 million in economic and development aid in the West Bank and Gaza, and $10 million for peace-building programs, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, subject to congressional approval.

As part of the announcement, the United States is also providing $150 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which will address emergency needs and basic services, including education for more than 500,000 Palestinian children.

Woman pouring hand sanitizer into student's hand while other students sit at tables and watch (© Adel Hana/AP Images)
A teacher gives students hand sanitizer on the first day of classes at a U.N.-run school in a refugee camp in Gaza City on August 8, 2020. (© Adel Hana/AP Images)

“Funding to UNRWA also provides critical COVID-19 assistance, including healthcare, medicine, and medical supplies, as well as cash and food assistance to families severely impacted by COVID-19,” Blinken said. “The United States is deeply committed to ensuring that our partnership with UNRWA promotes neutrality, accountability, and transparency.”

The United States is also restarting vital security assistance programs that will be administered consistent with U.S. law.

The United States has contributed $6 billion to UNRWA since the U.N. established the agency in 1949. UNRWA operates in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The $75 million in new economic and development assistance through USAID will support businesses affected by COVID-19 and strengthen economic recovery from the pandemic. The assistance also will bring food and clean water to families in need and support the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which provides lifesaving treatment to Palestinians. An additional $10 million in aid will support peace-building programs through USAID. This funding builds on $15 million in U.S. assistance to the Palestinian people announced in March to address COVID-19 and food insecurity.

The United States is the world’s largest donor to the global fight against COVID-19 and has pledged $4 billion to support global efforts to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. The U.S. Congress recently approved $11 billion to help countries around the world respond to COVID-19 and fight hunger and other secondary impacts of the pandemic.

Blinken said supporting the Palestinian people is consistent with the interests and values of the United States and its partners, and he urged others to donate toward stability and progress in the region.

“The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians,” he said.