In April 2021, the Biden administration approved plans to provide $235 million in aid to Palestinians. This included $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza. This decision was a reversal from the previous administration when Donald Trump blocked nearly all aid to UNRWA after it severed ties with the Palestinian Authority in 20181.
International Reactions and Implications
In response to the Hamas attack, Austria and Germany confirmed that they would be suspending aid to Palestinians. The European Union foreign minister set to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss future development assistance. The EU Commission spokesperson stated that "EU funding supports most essential services for the Palestinian population and contributes direct financing also to the Palestinian Authority"1.
Hamas Attack and Its Consequences
Hamas launched a large-scale surprise attack on Israel, launching a barrage of missiles from the Gaza Strip and sending fighters into Israeli territory. The attack has left hundreds of people from both sides dead, according to the Associated Press, while drawing international rebuke3.
Biden's Stance on Israel's Defense
President Biden expressed his "deep sympathy" for all those missing, wounded, and killed during the "unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists." He emphasized that there is no justification whatsoever for terrorism, and all countries must stand united in the face of such brutal atrocities1. Biden pledged that Washington, D.C., will "make sure" they have what they need to help their citizens as they defend themselves5.
Trump's Response to Hamas Attack
Former President Donald Trump suggested that Hamas militants could be "planning an attack" inside the U.S. because of Biden's border policies. He also suggested that U.S. taxpayers "helped fund" the Hamas attack, possibly because Biden approved $235 million in aid to Palestinians in 2021. However, there is no evidence that any of the funds went to Hamas2. Trump also blamed the attack on "American taxpayer dollars" in a statement on his social media platform3.