Even as violence between the two sides escalates, the Biden administration informed Congress this week that it will send millions of dollars in US aid to the Palestinians in the hopes of fostering peace.
The administration informed Congress on Thursday that it would provide $10 million to Palestinian groups in the West Bank and Gaza to fund trade and reconciliation projects with Israelis, amid the US calls for restraint. The help recipients were not identified.
The funding is part of more than $100 million allocated to the Palestinians by the Trump administration earlier this year, reversing a near-total cutoff in support under former President Donald Trump.
The $10 million will be used to fund “people-to-people efforts to put conflict-affected communities together to resolve tensions that may be rooted in group disparities such as race, faith, status, class, or political affiliation in areas affected by conflict and civil war,” according to a notice to lawmakers received by The Associated Press.
It stated that the funds would be used primarily for cross-border projects between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, but that services for Jews and Arabs living in Israel could also be included.
The fighting between the two sides has intensified, with Hamas rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza and increased Israeli military response. Within Israel, violence between Arabs and Jews has also increased.
The Biden administration has made no secret of its conviction that Trump's approach to the Middle East, which has alienated Palestinians, is faulty and has harmed chances for peace. The Obama administration has proposed $130 million in aid to the Palestinians, which seems to be aimed at persuading them to resume talks with Israel.