History

Children enjoying fresh produce grown by their family in a greenhouse provided through USAID assistance.
Children enjoying fresh produce grown by their family in a greenhouse provided through USAID assistance.
Save the Children

Since 1994, when USAID officially opened its Mission for the West Bank and Gaza, USAID programs have helped four million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza lead healthier and more productive lives. To date, this assistance has totaled approximately $3.5 billion – more than what has been provided by any other donor country.

American assistance and partnership with the Palestinian people dates back to the 19th century, when Palestine was host to many American private voluntary organizations engaged in educational, medical and welfare relief work. Assistance from the United States increased in 1948, when American private voluntary organizations provided food relief for people displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli war.

During the 1950s, the U.S. Foreign Operations Administration (a forerunner of USAID) based in Amman undertook development projects to address issues such as water resources, roads, job creation, agriculture, health, education, and sanitation in both Jordan and what is now the West Bank. In 1961, when the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was founded, the Foreign Operations Administration in Jordan became USAID/Jordan and continued providing support to Palestinians in the West Bank. During the 1960s and 1970s, Care International administered a U.S.-funded food program in the West Bank.

Beginning in 1975, $1 million was allocated through USAID to support projects being implemented in the West Bank/Gaza by USAID partners. This figure grew over the years and reached $12 million in 1988 when the first USAID national staff member was hired to assist colleagues in the Washington, at the Embassy in Tel Aviv, and at the Consul General in Jerusalem in overseeing the USAID supported projects. In 1989, USAID assistance doubled to $24 million. By 1992, an American was hired to be the first USAID affairs officer and to begin hiring staff to oversee a budget that had grown to $48 million. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994, USAID officially opened its offices for the West Bank and Gaza. 

Last updated: April 09, 2014

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