WASHINGTON, Saturday, April 17, 2021 (WAFA) – Anera, the American Near East Refugee Aid agency, welcomed the recent announcement by the US State Department that US government assistance to the Palestinians will resume, expressing hope that this will allow it to complete unfinished projects interrupted when aid was cut off by the previous US administration.
“Vulnerable Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinian refugees in neighboring countries, face many pressing challenges, exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic,” said Anera in a statement. “This and other international support is essential to helping Palestinian families and communities address the hardships and challenges, and build livelihoods and sustainable futures.”
The announced initial $235 million in US aid to Palestinians includes $75 million from the economic support fund for humanitarian and development programming, as well as additional funding for UNRWA – the UN agency founded in 1949 to support Palestinian refugees – and other programs. The announcement by the Biden administration reinstates vital funding to address urgent humanitarian and development needs, including the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The U.S. assistance will be directed through international organizations (UN and NGOs) rather than any Palestinian governing authorities. Anera has partnered with USAID over many years to implement projects to improve water and sanitation systems, construct and expand educational facilities, build community infrastructure such as markets, parks and women and youth centers, foster economic development and deliver urgent humanitarian aid.
Sean Carroll, president and CEO of Anera, said, "We look forward to resuming Anera's decades of productive partnership with USAID soon. There are several high-priority development needs where international support can make a real difference, including career accelerator programs to address high youth unemployment, providing women with the skills and resources they need to earn an independent income, and expanding the network of preschools and teachers so that all Palestinian children have an opportunity to attend school during the critical early childhood years."
Anera has partnered with USAID for over four decades to implement humanitarian response, infrastructure, and education programs. Most recently, USAID funded Anera's six-year, $100 million Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development project to build badly needed community infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza. Through the program, Anera completed 47 projects that improved services for 383,845 Palestinians in 50 marginalized communities across Palestine.
The program was in the final year of implementation when funding was stopped in January 2019. Up to $28 million remains unspent and Anera hopes that with the resumption of US government funding to Palestinians the rest of that program can be implemented.