Alarm Bells Ring as Biden Restarts Aid Packages to Palestinians After Trump Suspended the Program, Tacks on $38.5 Million in Midst of Hamas Onslaught

On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi traveled to Cairo to meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry. It was, Ashkenazi tweeted, “the first formal visit of an Israeli FM in 13 years” to Egypt.

Chief among the topics, according to Deutsche Welle: “establishing a permanent cease-fire with Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Gaza with a pivotal role played by the international community,” as per Ashkenazi.

That ceasefire hasn’t been reached yet, of course, which is why Ashkenazi was in Egypt in the first place. Hamas, still recognized as an international terrorist group, will be the governing power in the Gaza Strip. There may be a tenuous ceasefire now, but Hamas still retains Iranian support and, as the BBC notes, its charter still “defines historic Palestine — including present-day Israel — as Islamic land and it rules out any permanent peace with the Jewish state.”

So why is the Biden administration set to send $188.5 million — including $38.5 million in new funding — to rebuild Gaza at this moment, even as senior administration officials admit “there are no guarantees” the money won’t go to the terrorist group?

According to The Times of Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined the funding on Wednesday. In addition to the $150 million the administration had already promised the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, an additional $33 million was promised to the group.

Another $5.5 million would go to “emergency shelter, food, relief items and health care, as well as mental health and psychosocial support for those who experienced trauma” from the recent conflict, Blinken said.

All of this is supposed to stay out of the hands of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which is supposed to be the overarching governmental authority in the West Bank and Gaza. (For the curious, the West Bank is controlled by the horribly corrupt Fatah party; Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, currently in the 16th year of a four-year term, unsurprisingly postponed the first round of elections since 2006 in late April, according to the BBC.)

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