04/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/08/2021 13:09
Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released a statement following U.S. Secretary of State Blinken's announcement that the United States will resume funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
'Over the last several years, despite rising demands, extreme financial burdens, and the outbreak of COVID-19, UNRWA has managed to continue its mandate providing vital health, education, and social services to approximately 5.7 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Today's announcement is a long-overdue step toward resuming positive U.S. relations with the Palestinian people and re-establishing the United States as a credible and constructive leader in the region.
'The Trump Administration's decision to end all humanitarian contributions to UNRWA in 2018, despite the fact that there was no alternative service provider, was both needlessly cruel and dangerously impulsive. It also weakened American credibility on the world stage and further undercut the goal of a two-state solution.
'As Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, I support the Biden Administration's decision to resume U.S. contributions to UNRWA, and I look forward to working with the Department of State and USAID to ensure that we continue to provide critically-needed humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, in addition to the Congressionally-directed Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.'