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Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Blinken pledges USD 112.5 mn in new aid to Palestine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged a combined USD 112.5 mn in aid to Palestine in a statement to the press alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah yesterday, on the first day of his four-city tour to the Middle East dedicated to solidifying the Egypt-brokered Gaza-Israel ceasefire. The US will provide USD 5.5 mn in immediate aid to Gaza, with an additional USD 75 mn earmarked for economic and development funds to Palestine in 2021, and USD 32 mn allocated to the UN’s Palestine refugee agency. With these new contributions, the US is now in the process of providing USD 360 mn in assistance to Palestine, Blinken said.

The US will also reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, which had served as the country’s main diplomatic channel for Palestinians, reversing a Trump-era closure of the office.

Blinken also warned both sides against disturbing the peace: The US will “oppose any unilateral provocative actions that risk sparking more violence,” including settlement activity, annexation of territory, home demolitions or other incitements to violence, Blinken said, reiterating the US’ support for a two state solution.

Blinken also earlier met with Israeli PM Benjamin Netenyahu in Jerusalem, vowing that the US would work, “to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance” (watch, runtime: 58:37). Blinken also committed to the US replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, Bloomberg reports. Reuters also had the story.

The Secretary of State’s next stops will bring him to Cairo, then to Amman in the coming days.

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