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US Consul General: US donated $340 million to UNRWA in 2015 and is committed to continuing aid to PA

Official PA TV program Speak Plainly, on America’s interest in the peace process in the region, hosting US Consul General to Jerusalem Donald Blome

Official PA TV host:
"Does the US still continue and will it continue to support the stability of the Palestinian Authority (PA)?"

US Consul General to Jerusalem Donald Blome:
"Definitely, we see in the PA a strong peace partner and have already invested resources and American technological expertise in our Palestinian colleagues for years. We have been witness to important progress achieved by the PA in the development of the institutions necessary for a state. There is always more to do and we are striving to [find] ways to strengthen this matter and to strengthen our cooperation, and that is what we are doing. Our commitment is to the PA and the Palestinian people."

Host: "For those who do not know, the US government and the American people might be the biggest supporters of the PA and the Palestinian people, I mean in terms of financial and material support. The US may stand at the head of the PA’s supporters. However, is there an American decision to decrease this aid? Is there an American decision to continue this aid?
The truth is it is being said that there is a decrease in the aid to the PA and the Palestinian people."

US Consul General to Jerusalem Donald Blome: "There is no intention to decrease the support for the Palestinian people. The general level of [US] aid, not only for the plan for aid to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but [for countries] throughout the world, changes from year to year according to many factors. But the level of aid continues to be high, and as you noted we are the only and perhaps the biggest donor to the Palestinian people, whether by our support of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and of the Palestinian economy and the Palestinian security. Our commitment to this continues and is stable and I expect it to continue so even more strongly."

Host:
"Can you give us more details about the American aid to the PA in regards to building the institutions of the Palestinian state [that will be established] in the future?"

Donald Blome: "Yes, as I said, the aid that we are giving and the work that we are doing with our Palestinian partners crosses many areas and is very important to us. I will begin with the refugee problem. Last year [2015], the US gave UNRWA aid to the sum of $340 million, and we are the biggest donor to UNRWA. This is important support of UNRWA and it is the continuation of the support of the Palestinian refugees, not only in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but in the entire region. Aside from this support, we are also acting in the area of infrastructures, economy, and education. Regarding education, it is an important matter. We have invested approximately $85 million in Palestinian educational projects since 2010, and it is increasing. This is on the level of elementary and high schools for the improvement of the quality of education, including teacher training and [the development of] analytical thinking skills so that the Palestinian students will be able to compete in the 21st century."
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