Spokeswoman of the US Department of State Jen Psaki asserted yesterday that Washington’s aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is continuous and no bills regarding cutting the relief have been passed.
Speaking during the daily briefing, Psaki said: “US assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has not been suspended. Our assistance programmes continue.”
She stressed that the assistance is continuous to the PA as well as to Israel. “Our view continues to be that US assistance to the Palestinian Authority plays a valuable role in promoting stability and prosperity not just for the Palestinians, but for – also for Israel as well.
During the briefing, a journalist said that the chairman of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee in the Congress Ed Royce and other leaders have sent a letter to US Secretary John Kerry asking that aid to the PA be stopped.
Psaki replied: “There are a number of not just public comments or letters; there are a number of draft bills that have been proposed that would place further restrictions on assistance to the Palestinians. No new legislation has passed. We remain in close contact with Congress about this.”
About UNRWA, which announced on Monday that it suspended dispensing aid to Palestinians, Psaki said: “The United States remains a steadfast supporter of UNRWA, which we believe plays an indispensable role in the region, particularly in Gaza.”
She explained: “We announced an initial $100 million contribution for UNRWA’s 2015 needs, including $38 million for emergency needs in Gaza and the West Bank… This funding is in addition to the $74 million the United States provided to UNRWA’s flash appeal in 2014.”
In a statement UNRWA said that it can no longer dispense aid or money to Gaza because they only received $135 million of the $724 million pledged by foreign donors.