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Haaretz - Report: U.S. blocks $200 million in aid to Palestinian Authority

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  • Paul
    Haaretz - Sat, October 01, 2011 • Published 08:23 01.10.11 • Latest update 08:23 01.10.11 Report: U.S. blocks $200 million in aid to Palestinian
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2011
      Haaretz - Sat, October 01, 2011
      • Published 08:23 01.10.11
      • Latest update 08:23 01.10.11
      Report: U.S. blocks $200 million in aid to Palestinian Authority
      Funding stopped by three congressional committees in response to UN
      statehood bid, according to report by U.K's Independent newspaper; PA
      calls move 'collective punishment.'
      By Haaretz Tags: Palestinian state Palestinian Authority UN Security

      The United States Congress has blocked nearly $200m in aid to the
      Palestinians, the U.K’s Independent newspaper reported on Saturday.
      The aid, which was destined for projects related to food aid, health
      care, and state building efforts, was to have been transferred to the
      Palestinian Authority during the U.S. fiscal year that ends today,
      according to the report.


      However, following what the Independent described as an “unpublicized
      block” imposed on funding to the Palestinians since August this year, in
      response to the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN, the remainder
      of the aid allocated to the Palestinian Authority for the current
      financial year will not be transferred.

      The Independent reported that the block by three Congressional
      committees has been in force since August 18, when it was formally
      notified that USAID, the U.S. government aid agency, wanted to transfer
      the remaining $192m funding for the current fiscal year.

      Obama’s administration is unable to commit further funding to the
      Palestinian Authority unless it persuades Congress to lift the freeze,
      according to the report.

      The decision was strongly condemned by the Palestinian Authority on
      Friday, the Independent said.

      Ghassan Khatib, chief spokesman for the Palestinian Authority said on
      Friday that, "this is not constructive at all. Such moves are
      unjustified,” the Independent reported.

      “These are mainly humanitarian and development projects, it is another
      kind of collective punishment which is going to harm the needs of the
      public without making any positive contribution," the Independent
      reported him as saying.

      There have been demands in Congress throughout the year to withhold
      funding to the Palestinian Authority if it pursues the UN route to
      statehood. Rep. Gary Ackerman, member of the House Subcommittee on the
      Middle East and South Asia, said on Monday at a gathering of Congressmen
      and leaders of Jewish organizations outside the United Nations
      headquarters in New York that "there may need to be a total cutoff of
      all aid to the Palestinians for pursuing this course of action which is
      very dangerous and ill advised."

      Resolution 268, passed by a majority in the Congress in July, urged the
      Obama administration to suspend financial assistance to the PA if it
      pushed for a UN vote on recognition of statehood, and called for a
      renewal of direct talks with Israel and the Palestinians.

      The UN Security Council panel on admitting new members to the United
      Nations met on Friday for the first time on the Palestinian bid to join
      the world body as Palestinians lobbied council members for support.

      The United Nations panel responsible for admitting new members will
      likely mull the Palestinian statehood application for several weeks
      before making a decision, diplomatic sources said Friday.

      The general consensus at the United Nations headquarters in New York is
      that the panel discussions over the Palestinian application for full
      membership will continue to deliberate over technical matters as long as
      the U.S., European Union and the Quartet are leading efforts to renew
      negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

      According to diplomatic sources, the U.S. and its Western allies have a
      special interest in ‘dragging’ the debate on, with the purpose of giving
      their efforts vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinian Authority a fighting
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