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Obama’s Palestinian Initiatives: a ‘Down Payment’ on Gaza, but No More

Hussein Ibish told me earlier today that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas needs to yield a means of easing the siege on Gaza that helps the ordinary people

Jul 31, 2020
Hussein Ibish told me earlier todaythat Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas needs to yield a “means of easing the siege on Gaza that helps the ordinary people but does not help Hamas politically or in terms of PR” from his meeting today with President Obama. And just now, the White House announced an aid package for the Palestinians. Just don’t expect much of it to go to Gaza any time soon.
Gaza, of course, is under an Israeli blockade and controlled by the rejectionist group Hamas, which the U.S. won’t talk to until it ceases rejecting the peace process and the existence of Israel. Within those parameters, any aid package has to depend on external and diplomatic circumstances to reach Gaza. The $400 million Obama announced will go through Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who don’t have sway over Gaza or its 1.5 million residents. So the administration labeled them “a down payment on the United States’ commitment to Palestinians in Gaza, who deserve a better life and expanded opportunities, and the chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank.”
The White House called the siege of Gaza “unsustainable” in a press release, and says it demands “a significant change of strategy.” In what direction? The administration pledged to “work with our partners in the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Egypt, and the international community to put such a strategy in place.” In other words, the administration either has no idea or isn’t prepared to tell Israel to lift the siege.
But here are the “down payment” initiatives, as per a White House fact sheet:
A $240 million investment by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in the AMAL mortgage finance program in the West Bank, which is designed to increase homeownership by offering long-term mortgages at fixed- and variable rates.
· $75 million in funding through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the Palestinian Authority’s work to improve infrastructure throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
· $10 million in USAID-funded activities aimed at enhancing the Palestinian private sector’s competitiveness.
· $40 million to support UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for Gaza and the West Bank, which will help improve educational and health services, increase job creation, and repair shelters in Gaza, while also addressing core humanitarian needs in the West Bank.
· $14.5 million in USAID projects for school rehabilitation, small-scale agriculture, the repair of a hospital facility and other community infrastructure in Gaza.
· $10 million for the construction of five new UNRWA schools in Gaza.
· $5 million to start nine USAID-funded projects to repair water distribution and wastewater collection systems in Gaza.
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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