The U.S. is providing USD400 million as “a down payment on the United States’ commitment to Palestinians in Gaza.” U.S. President Barack Obama made the announcement June 9 following talks with visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
A fact sheet released by the White House specifies where the money will go:
- USD75 million for a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded infrastructure project.- USD10 million for a USAID-funded private sector competitiveness project.- USD40 million for United Nations projects in education, health services, housing, livelihood and humanitarian relief.- USD14.5 million for USAID projects in school and hospital rehabilitation, agriculture and other community infrastructure.- USD10 million for establishing five U.N.-run schools.- USD5 million for nine new USAID-funded projects on water distribution and wastewater collection.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed that some of the pledged money will actually come from the 2009 commitment of USD900 million. Half of the funds will be channeled through the Palestinian Authority budget, while the rest of the money will be managed by USAID and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
Only USD70 million represents new commitment, The New York Times reports.
Such financial assistance to Gaza “would come with strings attached” to ensure it would not fall in the hands of Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization, according to Reuters.
Obama also urged Israel, a close ally of the U.S., to ease limits on the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
“There should be some ways of focusing narrowly on arms shipments rather than focusing in a blanket way on stopping everything and then, in a piecemeal way, allowing things into Gaza,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.