The Biden administration is taking steps to increase U.S. assistance to the Palestinians as a new Middle East Policy is being put into place, according to The Western Journal.
“Supporting an enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a core U.S. national security objective,” the State Department said.
“As an essential part of this effort, U.S. government assistance seeks to build professional and accountable security and criminal justice institutions that maintain security and stability in the West Bank, uphold the rule of law, contribute directly to regional security, and protect the population.”
The assistance is aimed to encourage the Palestinians to renegotiate with Israel, though there is no indication it will have that effect.
Israel has yet to weigh in publicly regarding the matter.
The $40 million comes on top of $75 million in assistance for infrastructure, health and civil society groups the administration told Congress about on March 28 and $15 million in coronavirus assistance.
The Trump administration slashed funding to the Palestinians to almost nothing and ended support for the U.N. agency.
Pro-Israel lawmakers are signaling opposition to the renewed funding.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused UNRWA of being “riddled with waste, fraud (and) concerns of support to terrorism” and said there are fewer than 200,000 legitimate Palestinian refugees still alive.
“If funding resumes, we recommend measures to improve compliance,” said the GAO report.
More from The Western Journal:
Already, a handful of Republicans are preparing to challenge the aid, maintaining that it violates the so-called Taylor Force and the Anti-Terrorism Clarification acts, both of which passed with strong bipartisan support.
The resumption of assistance comes days after the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office issued a report that found the U.S. government had not properly vetted all of its Palestinian funding recipients for U.S. anti-terrorism criteria as required by law between 2015 and 2019, when Trump severed most of the aid.
While it said the U.S. Agency for International Development had followed the law with respect to people and groups it funded directly, it had not done the same with entities, known as sub-grantees, to which those groups then distributed taxpayer dollars.