The U.S. State Department said Friday that assistance to the Palestinian people is an essential part of the U.S. commitment to a negotiated two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis. We are working with the Congress to ensure continued U.S. support for the Palestinians, including $200 million in direct budget support this fiscal year (2012),the State Department said in a statement responding to a reporter question about the funds. We note that the United States provided $200 million in direct budget support to the Palestinian Authority in fiscal year 2011. The State Department said that the two-state solution would help promote a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It is in the interest not only of the Palestinians, but of Israel and the U.S. as well, to ensure these efforts continue as they help to build a more democratic, stable and secure region, the statement said.