US President Joe Biden has announced 100 million dollars (£84 million) in American assistance for east Jerusalem hospitals that serve as “the backbone” of healthcare for Palestinians.
He spoke on Friday during a visit to the Augusta Victoria Hospital, which provides advanced medical care including radiation treatment for cancer patients and paediatric kidney dialysis to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
The funding is subject to approval by US congress and would be paid out over several years.
Mr Biden called the six hospitals “the backbone of the Palestinian health care system”.
Mr Biden has restored much of that assistance since assuming office, but has made no progress in resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which collapsed more than a decade ago.
Dr Fadi Atrash, the hospital’s CEO, called Mr Biden’s visit a “courageous statement of support for the Palestinian people”.
Mr Biden is set to meet with Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank later on Friday.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally and views the entire city as its capital.
The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, and its fate is at the heart of the century-old conflict.
The six east Jerusalem hospitals, which symbolise the Palestinian presence in the city, have faced a funding crisis in recent years, as the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority has struggled to pay for advanced treatment for Palestinians.