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U.S. will send aid to Palestinians to fight virus

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has announced it will provide $5 million to the Palestinians to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first new U.S. assistance to the Palestinians since the administration slashed and then virtually eliminated all aid to them as it moved to coordinate its policy with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman announced the move in a tweet on Thursday. He said the money would go to Palestinian hospitals and households to “meet immediate, life-saving needs in combating COVID-19.” He said the United States “is committed to assisting the Palestinian people” during the crisis.

Friedman has been a main proponent of the administration’s pro-Israel stance, promoting the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv, eliminating American assistance to the Palestinian Authority and ending funding for the U.N. agency responsible for Palestinian refugees.

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