The Biden administration will ask the U.S. Congress for $75 million in development and economic assistance for Palestinians, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday, and added that Washington will be moving forward with the process to reopen the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.
Speaking after his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken said the United States would also provide $5.5 million in immediate disaster assistance for Gaza and $32 million to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
The consulate long served as an autonomous office in charge of diplomatic relations with the Palestinians. But former President Donald Trump downgraded its operations and placed them under the authority of his ambassador to Israel when he moved the embassy to Jerusalem.
The move infuriated the Palestinians, who view east Jerusalem as occupied territory and the capital of their future state.
Blinken announced the step Tuesday after a meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The United States is trying to bolster Abbas in his rivalry with Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group and on the international stage.
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“As I told the president, I’m here to underscore the commitment of the United States to rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, freedom opportunity and dignity,” he said.