The United States is the leading provider of bilateral economic and development aid to the Palestinians, providing an estimated $2.5 billion through USAID since 1993. The $200 million in direct budget assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) that the Secretary announced July 24 represents the single largest transfer of budget support to the PA from any country since its inception. It is a part of the $900 million pledge for 2009 that the Secretary announced at the March 2 donors’ conference in Sharm al-Sheikh to address the immediate needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and support our longer-term approach of fostering the conditions in which a Palestinian state can be realized.
The United States is committed to improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza. In 2009, the United States has provided more than $72 million to date in humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza through the United Nations Consolidated Appeal (CAP) and other partner organizations.
In 2008, the U.S. was the single largest national donor to the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. exceeded its Paris Donors’ Conference pledge of $555 million (December 2007), committing more than $600 million in assistance to the PA in calendar year 2008, including:
· $239 million for activities in economic growth, democracy and governance, food assistance, education, health, and water supply to the PA.
· An additional $300 million in direct budget support to the PA for debt owed to commercial vendors and financial institutions.
· $75 million for security sector reform.
In addition, in fiscal year 2008 the U.S. provided $184.7 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) and Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) funds to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for assistance to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.