Al Monitor : How big can Biden administration go with aid to Gaza?

Palestinian volunteers and municipal workers clear the rubble of the Hanadi compound, recently destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City's Rimal district, on May 25, 2021. - US top diplomat Antony Blinken vowed support to help rebuild the battered Gaza Strip and shore up a truce between Hamas and Israel, but insisted the territory's Islamist militant rulers would not benefit from any aid. (Photo by Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

How big can Biden administration go with aid to Gaza?

A World Bank economic strategy for the West Bank and Gaza released just before the recent Israel-Hamas exchange deserves a closer look.

US can follow World Bank road map

The Biden administration has made reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to Gaza a priority following the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, but the challenge of channeling aid to the territory is large.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $38 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza on May 26, most of it through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in addition to $250 million in economic, development, security and humanitarian aid announced earlier this year.

Combined with pledges so far of $500 million each from Egypt and Qatar, $22.5 million from the UN, $9.8 million from the EU, $49 million from Germany, $4.5 million from the UK, and $1 million from China (see our breakdown here), and probably more to come from the Gulf, it adds up — which makes sense, because the people of Gaza desperately need the help.

But it’s always a challenge for Washington, which maintains a close alliance with Israel, to navigate the politics and needs of the Palestinian territories. US President Joe Biden has made clear that he will work with and through Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to assist Gaza, even though the PA doesn’t govern in Gaza. The Biden administration can’t and won’t deal with Hamas, which does rule there but which the United States considers a terrorist group. Abbas, who governs from the West Bank, canceled elections last month before a likely setback at the polls. Instead of the elections strengthening Palestinian unity, as Abbas had hoped, the preelection campaigning instead revealed Abbas’ weakening coalition. Biden’s embrace at Abbas’ political low-point is a lifesaver, and potentially puts Abbas back in the game. READ MORE