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Trump expected to increase aid to West Bank, Gaza in 2018 budget plans

April 25, 2017 10:38 P.M. (Updated: April 26, 2017 9:33 A.M.)
US President Donald Trump (AFP/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- While the Trump administration is preparing to drastically cut United States foreign aid to numerous countries, the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip are set to receive a slight increase in US funding in the administration's proposed internal budget. 

Documents released by the Foreign Policy magazine show that Trump’s 2018 budget would slash assistance to developing countries by more than one-third.

However, the West Bank and Gaza would see an increase of US foreign aid by 4.5 percent, which would provide up to $215 million of American aid during 2018. 

While tensions have remained high in the US around Trump’s election, the controversial president has continued to spearhead policies widely condemned by the American public. 

On the issue of Palestine, Trump has remained largely elusive, saying in February that when it comes to a solution for the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict he could “live with either” a one- or two-state solution, in a significant departure from the US’ publicly held position in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict. 

Earlier this year, Trump’s administration reportedly froze the $221 million dollars that former president Barack Obama had released to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the final hours of his presidency, with the US state department later transferring the funds to humanitarian organizations operating in the Palestinian territory. 

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has welcomed Trump’s presidency, as right-wing politicians believe they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements since Trump came forward as a vocal supporter of Israel, made the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a centerpiece in his campaign promises, and was quick to express his opposition to a UNSC resolution that harshly condemned illegal settlements.

However Trump has also made statements critical of settlements following the passage in Israel’s parliament of the “Regularization law,” which could grant official Israeli governmental recognition to more than a dozen illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank established on private Palestinian lands.
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