İrem UZUN -TDO- The United States has announced it will give $5m to the Palestinians to help them fight the coronavirus epidemic. The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a former Trump bankruptcy lawyer, announced the aid package on Twitter, saying he was “very pleased” the U.S. would provide money for Palestinian hospitals and households.

The U.S. had been United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)’s largest contributor by far, providing it $350 million annually - roughly a quarter of its overall budget.  Established in 1949, (UNRWA) provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. However, starting from 2018, The U.S. had cut more than $200 million in aid to Palestine following a review initiated by President Donald Trump in August. The Trump administration also cut financial aid for the (UNRWA) the same year

There was no immediate comment from the Palestinians. Prior to this aid programme, Trump released his Middle East plan in January. Israel embraced it, while the Palestinians rejected it out of hand, in part because it endorsed Israel keeping its settlements in West Bank territory it captured a 1967 war. The Palestinians have boycotted Trump's peace efforts since 2017, accusing him of pro-Israel bias. Building on these political maneuvers, Palestinian authorities and charities say the Trump administration is partly to blame for a deteriorating humanitarian situation that leaves them unprepared to face the COVID-19 pandemic.

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