The European Union approved on Wednesday a new package of aid to Palestine worth 42.5 million euros, after the US president, Donald Trump, announced two weeks ago his intention to reduce Washington’s contribution to UNRWA, the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees. The EU aims to mitigate the effects of Trump’s decision, which threatens to aggravate the humanitarian conditions and social unrest in Gaza, where half of its two million inhabitants rely on international aid.
“I am glad to announce today that we have just adopted a new assistance package of 42.5 million euros, including for activities in East Jerusalem and support towards building a democratic and accountable Palestinian state,” the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, told reporters in Brussels. Mogherini said that the financial contribution will promote political reforms such as fiscal consolidation, access to water and energy, and the strengthening of businesses and SMEs, as well as Palestinian civil society.
On Monday, the 13,000 employees of UNRWA staged a strike that forced the closure of the organisation’s schools, clinics and food stores, serving 1.4 million Gazans in protest at the US decision to cut its aid for the organisation by $65 million.
Addressing the US decision to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Mogherini said “For us, what counts is, first and foremost, that everyone recognises that the United States is essential for any project to have a realistic chances of success.”
The United States, she said, will not be able to end the conflict without the help of the rest of the international community. “Any framework for negotiations must be multilateral and involve all players and key partners in this process, a process without one or the other simply will not work,” she added.