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Palestinians Refuse U.S. Money

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  • ummyakoub
    Palestinian Aid Groups Refuse U.S. Money Associated Press 5 January 2004 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57058-2004Jan5.html RAMALLAH, West Bank
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2004
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      Palestinian Aid Groups Refuse U.S. Money

      Associated Press
      5 January 2004

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57058-2004Jan5.html

      RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian aid groups have refused to accept
      money from the U.S. government because of a requirement they sign a
      pledge the money would not be used for terrorism, organizers said
      Monday.

      The U.S. Agency for International Development has given Palestinian
      groups $1.3 billion in the past decade and is a key source of
      funding for the cash-strapped organizations.

      But USAID enacted the anti-terrorism pledge requirement at the end
      of 2002 for new grants given worldwide.

      Specifically, USAID demanded that groups worldwide sign a document
      pledging not to "provide material support or resources to any
      individual or entity that advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in or
      has engaged in terrorist activity."

      The Non-Governmental Organization Network, an umbrella group that
      includes 89 Palestinian aid groups, is leading the effort against
      signing the document.

      Many Palestinian aid groups have refused to sign, arguing it allows
      the United States to determine what is a terrorist organization.
      They also fear that they might unwittingly fund projects of some of
      the 25 groups that the USAID identifies as terrorists like Hamas and
      Islamic Jihad.

      "Identifying most of the Palestinian factions as terrorist groups is
      unacceptable," said Siam Rashid of the NGO network. "The other issue
      is that any activity could be identified as a terrorist activity."

      Some of the groups, like Hamas, run social welfare programs, though
      the violent Islamic group is also responsible for most of the 106
      suicide bombings against Israelis during three years of violence.

      The Palestinian Red Crescent, which used to receive about $300,000 a
      year in aid, refused to sign and gave up its funding, said deputy
      director Faiq Hussein.

      "We would like to take funds from them, but without any conditions,"
      Hussein said.

      On Monday, the NGO network held meetings in the West Bank and Gaza
      Strip to urge members to continue the protest and to inform them
      about alternative funding - such as through Europe and Japan, which
      don't require similar pledges.

      A few Palestinian towns and aid groups, desperate for funds, have
      signed the USAID document, but they have done so quietly for fear of
      negative reaction.

      USAID spokeswoman Monica Pataki said the organization has not
      decided how to deal with the Palestinian refusal.

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