August 19 is World Humanitarian Day. As we advocate for the “safety and security of humanitarian aid workers, and for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises” around the world, it is not without irony that we analyze U.S. cuts to humanitarian aid to Palestine and the Palestinians.
Our guest for this session of Kumi Now was Jonathan Kuttab, the new executive director of Friends of Sabeel North America.
Week 33 of Kumi Now is now available on the website. In the mid-1990s, following the signing of the Oslo Agreements when a two-state solution seemed within reach, the Clinton Administration began providing bilateral economic assistance to the newly-established Palestinian Authority (PA). Since 1994 the United States has provided over $5 billion in economic assistance to the Palestinian people. However, after the election of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections, the United States Congress imposed restriction after restriction on how humanitarian aid could be provided to the Palestinian territories. A series of executive decisions on the part of the White House and the passage of two key congressional acts in 2018 brought this process to a radical culmination—U.S. humanitarian aid to Palestine had for all practical purposes been terminated. The Biden administration has restored some, but not nearly all, of this previous aid. The challenge of defining the U.S. role in Palestine is far from finished.