Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday pledged another $75 million to help Palestinians build roads and schools as an incentive to pursue peace talks with Israel.
Kerry announced the aid during a stop in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Wednesday’s announcement brings the total U.S. contribution to the Palestinian Authority’s High Impact Micro-Infrastructure Initiative program to $100 million.
“HIMII projects will create jobs and fund infrastructure projects throughout the West Bank including the construction and repair of health clinics, roads, water systems, community centers, and schools,” the State Department said in a press statement. “The HIMII is designed to show tangible benefits to the lives of Palestinians as negotiations advance and lay the groundwork for further economic growth.”
Kerry’s visit comes as peace talks that he helped kickstart three months ago are already faltering amid Palestinian complaints that Israel is still pushing forward with settlement construction in the occupied territories. President Obama has given Kerry nine months to try to strike a deal.