The Biden administration is quietly increasing its financial assistance to the Palestinians, in the latest foreign policy shift by former President Donald Trump.
The State Department, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development, notified Congress of its intention to deliver nearly $ 75 million in aid to the region just one day after publicly announcing a $ 15 million commitment to Palestinian groups. vulnerable.
The State Department declined to say whether the $ 15 million was included in the $ 75 million mentioned to Congress, or if the two were separate payments.
The funds do not require further approval from Congress, as they were allocated largely in the fiscal year 2020 budget.
However, they were not spent before President Biden took office because the Trump administration’s policy blocks almost all aid to the Palestinians.
Then-President Trump severed ties with the Palestinian Authority in August 2018, amid rising tensions over the then-commander-in-chief’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The decision to block aid caused the Palestinians to lose more than $ 200 million.
The Biden administration did not go out of its way to publicize the payment renewals, likely an effort not to cause concern among pro-Israeli Americans over their positions in the Middle East.
When contacted for comment, State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated the Biden administration’s support for resuming aid to the Palestinians.
“We continue to believe that US support for the Palestinian people, including financial support, is consistent with our values. It is consistent with our interests. Of course, it is consistent with the interests of the Palestinian people, “Price told reporters.
“It is also consistent with the interests of our partner, Israel, and we will have more to say about it in the future,” he continued.
While Biden may not support the Trump doctrine in all aspects of foreign policy, he has welcomed an effort by the previous president: the Abraham Accords.
The Abraham Accords were signed in September last year, normalizing relations between Israel and two Gulf countries in an agreement spearheaded by the Trump administration.
Biden pledged at the time to build on the work of his predecessor and praised the diplomatic achievements that united Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
With cable poles