US withholds $200 million from PA for punishment over statehood bid

Israel/Palestine
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From Haaretz:

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 Independent report adds:

Former President Bill Clinton, among others, this month warned legislators to leave the issue of aid to the administration, adding: “Everybody knows the US Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world. They don’t have to demonstrate that.”

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