U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that the Biden administration will send $15 million in COVID-related humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
“With this assistance, the U.S. Agency for International Development is supporting Catholic Relief Services’ COVID-19 response efforts in health-care facilities and for vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza,” she told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday as part of its monthly briefing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The funds will also support emergency food programming as well.
“This urgent, necessary aid is one piece of our renewed commitment to the Palestinian people,” she said. “The aid will help Palestinians in dire need, which will bring more stability and security to both Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
The Biden administration has vowed to restore U.S. ties with the Palestinians, which were largely severed under the Trump administration. The United States had largely cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority under the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits funding to the Palestinians as long as they continue to provide stipends to imprisoned terrorists and their families.
The money will not be transferred directly to the P.A., but through NGOs that work in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Thomas-Greenfield also criticized the U.N. Security Council for its disproportionate focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “There are other issues in the region that are threats to international peace and security and deserve more of this council’s attention,” she said.
“Let me be clear,” she emphasized. “Not all criticism of Israel is illegitimate. But too often, that criticism veers dangerously into anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism, as with all forms of hate, works directly against the cause of peace. So we will vigorously oppose one-sided efforts.”
The Democratic Majority for Israel CEO Mark Mellman applauded the move by the Biden administration.
“We welcome the Biden administration’s decision to send humanitarian aid to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza to help them meet the urgent needs associated with COVID-19. In addition to supporting health-care facilities, the aid will also provide emergency food assistance to vulnerable families. The aid will be provided by USAID which will work in coordination with Catholic Relief Services’ COVID-19 response efforts in the region,” said the group.
“Importantly, the administration has taken care to ensure this relief effort complies with the Taylor Force Act which President Biden has committed to uphold,” it added.