The Trump administration will not be sending U.S. coronavirus assistance to the Gaza Strip due to concerns that funds could fall into the hands of the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas.
“The Trump administration is not supporting assistance to Gaza,” a senior administration official with knowledge of the decision told The New York Post. “There is a Hamas government in Gaza. They have indicated no interest in engaging with us, no interest in peace with Israel, and in fact, they continue—despite having coronavirus cases in Gaza—to fire rockets at the Israelis on a regular basis.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman announced on April 16 that the United States would give $5 million to the Palestinians to help them deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m very pleased the USA is providing $5M for Palestinian hospitals and households to meet immediate, life-saving needs in combating COVID-19. The USA, as the world’s top humanitarian aid donor, is committed to assisting the Palestinian people, & others worldwide, in this crisis,” tweeted Friedman.
The relief would come from international-disaster assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to the U.S. State Department. The funds would go to Palestinians through a contractor in the West Bank.
The Trump administration has defunded almost all U.S. assistance to the Palestinians since the enactment of the Taylor Force Act in 2018 due to the Palestinian Authority’s “pay to slay” program of rewarding terrorists and their families.