The below is attributable to Spokesperson Rebecca Chalif:
On March 5-11, Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman traveled to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan to view USAID’s development work first-hand and meet with government officials, partners, and communities.
She met with the USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission staff to discuss critical development and humanitarian issues and participated in an all-staff town hall to discuss challenges and opportunities in resuming USAID’s operations and programming after a three-year pause. She met with officials from the Government of Israel to discuss USAID’s commitment to a peaceful, sustainable two-state solution; planned development work to benefit the Palestinian people; and advancing bilateral cooperation with Israel. She also met with Ambassador Eynat Shlein—the head of Israel’s development agency, MASHAV—to discuss the two agencies’ partnership, particularly in response to development challenges in Northern Central America and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
Deputy Administrator Coleman held separate discussions with Alon Bar, the Political Director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,and Major General Rassan Alian, the head of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. In these meetings, Deputy Administrator Coleman discussed USAID’s plans for new work under the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) and the Agency’s continued work with the Palestinian people on humanitarian issues, economic development, support for youth, as well as plans to support water and wastewater treatment in the West Bank. In a discussion with Israeli and Palestinian media, Deputy Administrator Coleman announced the first two awards of the MEPPA.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with Palestinian businesswomen to hear about the challenges they face and how USAID is helping them sustain their businesses despite the impacts of COVID-19. She met with Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh to discuss the necessity of PA reforms for USAID to advance its support for Palestinians.
Deputy Administrator Coleman visited Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem to see how USAID’s contributions have supported the response to COVID-19 in the West Bank, and she then met with members of the United Nations Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. She also toured a USAID-funded youth center in Jericho and engaged with Palestinian youth before departing to Jordan, where she met with USAID Jordan Mission staff to learn more about their work and the Mission’s priorities.
In Jordan, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with Government of Jordan Ministers, including H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Safadi; H.E. Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Nasser Shraideh; and other officials including the advisor of the Economic Affairs at the Royal Hashemite Court, Zeina Toukan. During these meetings, Deputy Administrator Coleman discussed the strong partnership between the U.S. and Jordan and highlighted the joint commitment between our two countries to continue cooperation on a number of fronts including water security and public sector reforms and advancing economic opportunities for women and youth. Deputy Administrator Coleman had dinner with Jordanian women leaders; toured Kama, a female-owned artisanal food company that was able to expand with the support of USAID; and visited several USAID-funded projects that support the tourism industry.
On the final day of her trip, Deputy Administrator Coleman spent the morning engaged in discussions regarding Jordan’s water crisis and the impact on regional dynamics with USAID staff and H.E. Mohammed Al Najjar, the Minister of Water and Irrigation. Deputy Administrator Coleman visited the Al Addasya Diversion Weir and King Abdullah Canal to better understand Jordan’s water supply challenges and expressed USAID’s continued commitment to helping Jordan address the water security issues that face the region.
Deputy Administrator Coleman also met with UN and NGO partners supporting the Syrian humanitarian and stabilization response; was hosted by a Syrian refugee family in their home to discuss their lived experience; and attended a roundtable discussion with Syrian refugees and their Jordanian neighbors to better understand the continued challenges and difficulties caused by the ongoing Syrian conflict. She commended the Jordanian government and people for their continued hospitality and support for Syrian refugees.