The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced, today, a U.S. contribution of $100 million in budget support for the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to an official press release.WAFA reports that, in a ceremony at the Office of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara, U.S. Consul General, Michael Ratney, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) West Bank and Gaza Mission Director Dave Harden announced the U.S contribution to the PA.
At the October 2014 Gaza Donors Conference in Cairo, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced $414 million in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians, which designated $212 million to be delivered through USAID.
Today’s transfer will be used to directly pay for fuel purchases and support of six hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem, allowing them to continue to provide critical services to the public.
In light of the tumultous escalation of violence in East Jerusalem, as well as Israel’s continued policy of settlement expansion in the face of international pressure to resolve this historical conflict peacefully, several countries including France, Britain and Sweden have expressed dissent with Israel’s handling of its affairs.
A former Israeli prison guard turned journalist, recently quoted a US official in The Atlantic:
‘’The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,’ the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. ‘The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.’’
Furthermore, the Japanese government, in a Wednesday press release, urged Israel to desist from implementing its plans for the construction of 500 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, for the sake of progress in the peace process.
The statement deeply deplored Israel’s approval to advance the construction plans, calling upon Israel to refrain from any unilateral act which would change the current status of East Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank.
“As the Government of Japan has repeatedly expressed, The Israeli decision has a negative impact on the current security situation in Jerusalem and the ceasefire agreement regarding the Gaza Strip, and clearly goes against the ongoing efforts by the international community toward realizing a two-state solution,” said the release.
“Settlement activities are a violation of international law, and Japan has repeatedly called upon Israel to fully freeze settlement activities…
“Japan once again strongly urges both Israeli and Palestinian sides to act to enhance mutual trust and continue to make steady efforts for peace,” it concluded.
Spain, as well, expressed regret and condemned the decision, by Israeli authorities, to proceed with the construction,according to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign affairs’ website:
“The Government of Spain believes that this type of unilateral action contributes to making the future formation of a Palestine State unworkable and is therefore incompatible with Israel’s formal commitment to negotiate with the Palestinians to achieve a peaceful, global and lasting solution based on the two-State principle.”
WAFA reports that, once again, Spain has reiterated its position on the illegal nature of all settlements, a position it shares with the international community — that the settlements are illegal under international law.
In related news, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, Philip Luther, said that “Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war during the 51-day war on Gaza by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused.”
See also: 10/11/14 Second Wave of Ecuadorian Relief Arrives in Gaza