Churches for Middle East Peace

Reversing Trump, Biden Restores Aid to Palestinians

A look at US policy and foreign relations, an Easter word of encouragement, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency at a refugee camp in Gaza City. An assistance package will provides $150 million in humanitarian aid, funneled through the relief agency. (Mahmud Hams/ Agence France-Presse/ Getty Images)

Biden restores aid to Palestine

Image: Aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency at a refugee camp in Gaza City. An assistance package will provides $150 million in humanitarian aid, funneled through the relief agency. (Mahmud Hams/ Agence France-Presse/ Getty Images)

Reversing Trump, Biden restores aid to Palestinians
New York Times

“The Biden administration announced on Wednesday (April 7) that it would restore hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid to Palestinians, its strongest move yet to reverse President Donald J. Trump’s policy on the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The package, which gives at least $235 million in assistance to Palestinians, will go to humanitarian, economic, development and security efforts in the region, and is part of the administration’s attempt to rehabilitate U.S. relations with Palestinians, which effectively stopped when Mr. Trump was in office.”

Aljouny Palestine oped

Image: A Palestinian boy walks past a mural inspired by the coronavirus pandemic, in a street in Gaza City on March 31, 2021. (Mohammed Abed/AFP VIA Getty Images)

Biden could chart a new path for US on Palestinian rights. Will he?

Joyce Ajlouny of CMEP Board member organization American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) writes, “Israel leads the world in vaccine distribution, but it has largely refused to vaccinate Palestinians. In the occupied Palestinian territory, only around 2 percent of the population has been vaccinated. The Fourth Geneva Convention states that an occupying power has ‘the duty of ensuring and maintaining … the public health and hygiene in occupied territory’ and has the responsibility ‘to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.’ Israel is ignoring its legal as well as moral responsibility. As in many places around the world, the pandemic has laid bare the stark inequalities and injustices that have always been with us. We have seen how the freedoms, rights and lives of people of color and poor people have been deemed less worthy of protections and medical care."

Jerusalem mission

Image: Main image by Illustration using a photo of Palestinian activists placing a t-shirt with a logo representing their statehood bid underneath the US Consulate sign during a rally on September 21, 2011 in Jerusalem. (AP/Dusan Vranic; Illustration: Joshua Davidovich)

Did the US downgrade its Palestinian ties by ‘upgrading’ its Jerusalem mission?
Times of Israel

“Two years ago, American diplomats gathered in the courtyard of the US Consulate General on Agron Street in Jerusalem to ceremoniously mark the closing of the diplomatic mission after 175 years. Citing efficiency reasons, the Trump administration had decided to fold what had for decades served as the de facto US representative office to the Palestinians into its new embassy to Israel in the capital. It was a controversial move opposed by a majority of foreign service officers at the consulate, who saw it as a downgrade of US-Palestinian relations that would sabotage their work, according to ex-diplomats who spoke to The Times of Israel for this story."

What's Happening at CMEP

Take Action: Tell Congress to Say No to Home Demolitions:

According to a recent report, in February alone, “the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 153 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank.” Without decisive action, the increase in demolitions throughout the West Bank will only continue.


Public Statement: CMEP Applauds Reinstatement of Aid to Palestinians:

CMEP strongly opposed the Trump Administration’s decision to suspend all bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). CMEP has pushed the Biden Administration to resume this much-needed assistance as soon as possible.

Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony:

Join hundreds of thousands of people from around the world in what is being called the biggest Israeli-Palestinian peace event in history. On April 13, 2021 at 1:30 PM EST, we will gather to call for peace, freedom, and human rights for all. This event is hosted by Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle–Families Forum, and we are proud that CMEP is an official sponsor this year.


Support the work of our Ambassador Warren Clark Fellows and honor the legacy of a former Executive Director of CMEP.

dem letter to Biden about Yemen

Image: The US Capitol dome and its reflection are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 29, 2012. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Congressional Democrats call on Biden administration to demand Saudi Arabia lift blockade on Yemen

“A group of more than 70 congressional Democrats has sent President Joe Biden a letter pushing the White House to encourage Saudi Arabia to end a blockade of Yemen that has led to food and fuel shortages in the country that have hampered the delivery of desperately needed food aid.”

Rev Barber Easter service

Image: The Rev. William Barber II speaks during a virtual Easter vigil service April 3, 2021, titled “Easter in Jerusalem: The Sabeel Community Celebrates Holy Saturday 2021,” led by a Christian activist group in Jerusalem. (Video screengrab

William Barber preaches at Easter vigil service spotlighting Christian Palestinians
Religion News

“In a display of solidarity with the Palestinian cause, the Rev. William Barber II participated in a virtual Easter vigil service Saturday (April 3) led by a Christian activist group in Jerusalem. Though never mentioning Israel, he called on his listeners in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, ‘Get up, my Palestinian brothers and sisters, my Christian and Muslim brothers, we have work to do in his name.’"

Netanyahu april new government

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, front, attends the swearing-in ceremony for Israel's 24th government, at the Knesset, or parliament, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via AP)

Netanyahu asked to form new government, but faces long odds
AP News

“Israel’s president on Tuesday (April 6) handed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the difficult task of trying to form a new government, giving the embattled Israeli leader a chance to extend his lengthy term in office. But with the newly elected parliament deeply divided and the prime minister on trial for corruption charges, Netanyahu had little to celebrate. He now has up to six weeks to lure his political foes into a coalition, an effort that appears to have slim odds of success. At the same time, those opponents will be working to form an alternative government that could end his 12-year reign.”

CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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