The Palestine Israel Network (PIN), a part of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF), supports the U.S. State Department’s recent decision to reinstate some of the humanitarian and economic aid to the Palestinian people that had been halted by the previous administration; however, we are deeply concerned that U.S. policy toward Palestinians remains severely compromised.
Unfortunately, the $235 million in aid announced by the State Department represents less than half of the assistance provided prior to suspension by the previous administration. EPF PIN urges reinstatement of the full amount, and more. In this we stand with the voice of General Convention 2018 who in Resolution B021 called on the U.S. government to “restore its full planned 2018 funding.”Without question, this financial assistance will bring much needed relief and support for many Palestinian people, especially in this time of global pandemic, but alone it is insufficient and does not address the root causes of the terrible situation in Palestine and Israel. Other steps taken so far by the Biden Administration represent at best a return to the status quo ante of a negotiated two-state solution that has demonstrably failed. EPF PIN calls for a new approach of engaging the Palestinian people through their representatives, acknowledging their voices, authority, and agency in determining their own fates; upholding international law and supporting the International Criminal Court investigations of alleged war crimes; opposing further construction of illegal settlements and acting to stem settler violence against Palestinian neighbors; and using its diplomatic clout to apply consequences for other violations of human rights such as detention of children and wanton Palestinian home destruction.
Finally, EPF PIN urges the State Department to follow up its renewed aid to UNRWA by pressing Israel to allow the refugees to return to their homes, provide reparations, and guarantee their equal rights as human beings, thereby aligning US policy with established international law and resolutions of the United Nations.