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US reinstates hundreds of millions in funding to Palestinians, reversing Trump decision

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 41.6%. 2 min read.

The US will resume the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Palestinians that was previously halted by the Trump administration.

Over $200 million will soon begin to flow to economic, development and humanitarian programs for the Palestinian people, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday -- a move hailed by both the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports displaced Palestinians, and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh.

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded carefully on Wednesday, refraining from outright criticism of the Biden administration and instead aiming its fire at UNRWA: "Israel's position is that the organization in its current form perpetuates the conflict and does not contribute to its resolution.

The agency is also responsible for the descendants of those original refugees, meaning some 5. 6 million people are currently eligible for UNRWA services, according to the UNRWA website.

UNRWA hailed the US announcement Wednesday saying the United States had "restored its role as a decades-long friend and supporter of the UN agency," adding that the news came at a crucial moment.

UNRWA's West Bank director Gwyn Lewis told CNN the agency had been forced to delay payments to staff at the end of last year, as well as scale back on investment programs, such as expenditure on new garbage collection equipment in refugee camps.

Lewis added the agency was hopeful Wednesday's announcement would open the door to increased US contributions so that it might get back to pre-Trump funding levels of 360 million dollars per year.

"We welcome the resumption of US aid to UNRWA and Palestine, and we call upon the American administration to create a new political path that meets the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people based on international law and UN resolutions," PM Shtayyeh tweeted.

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