Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Ramallah, West Bank - U.S. Suspends Palestinians Aid

Published on: October 3, 2011 05:28 PM
By: AP
Change text size Text Size  

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, the West Bank, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.  (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)Ramallah, West Bank - Palestinian officials said Monday that the U.S. has suspended West Bank development projects worth tens of millions of dollars after Congress froze funding to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking U.N. recognition of an independent state.

It’s the first concrete sign of repercussions for the Palestinians’ decision to defy Washington on the issue.

Hassan Abu Libdeh, the Palestinian economics minister, said he was informed Monday by officials of USAID, the U.S. government’s foreign aid agency, that two projects — worth $55 million and $26 million — were being put on hold for lack of funding. One supported the development of the Palestinian private sector and the other aimed to improve the investment environment, Abu Libdeh said, adding that 50 people involved were laid off last week and 200 others would follow by November. Other ministries also reported USAID projects were in jeopardy, including an $85 million five-year plan to improve Palestinian health services.

Advertisement:

USAID officials confirmed some programs were affected by the Congressional hold, but would not give details. “Ongoing programs will continue until funds are exhausted,” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Palestinian officials denounced the move as counterproductive to Mideast peace efforts and said this would not deter them from seeking full U.N. membership for a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem — lands Israel captured in 1967.

Two Republican-led committees in the House — Foreign Affairs and the Appropriations subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations — put a hold on $200 million in economic assistance in late August, as the Palestinians were gearing up for their U.N. move.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month proceeded anyway, presenting his case for recognition in a speech to the U.N. and formally submitting a request to the Security Council.

The Obama Administration finds itself caught in the middle — opposing both the Palestinians’ U.N. gambit and the Republican moves to punish them for it.

Keeping the aid flowing “is not only in the interest of the Palestinians, it’s in the U.S. interest and it’s also in the Israeli interest, and we would like to see it go forward,” State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.

Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta argued on Monday that “this is no time to withhold those funds, at a point in time where we are urging the Palestinians and the Israelis to sit down and negotiate a peace agreement.”

The U.S. argues that a Palestinian state can only arise through negotiations with Israel and says it will veto the Palestinian membership application in the Security Council if the measure gains enough support. The U.S. — along with other world mediators — has called for a quick resumption of long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but the Palestinians say Israel must first halt all settlement building on occupied land.

“We feel very sorry about this decision by the American Congress, which we think came to sabotage our ability to establish a Palestinian state,” Abu Libdeh said. “This is a political measure that reflects a blind bias against the Palestinian interests and will not help the efforts of the U.S. administration to resume negotiations. ... The decision (by Congress) is affecting all aspects of American support for the Palestinian people.”

Donor countries have given billions of dollars to the Palestinians over the years, in an attempt to prop up the Abbas government and an economy battered by conflict with Israel and continued Israeli restrictions on trade and movement.

The Palestinians have received about $500 million a year from the U.S. alone in recent years, including tens of millions of dollars for training the Palestinian security services. The partial suspension of aid by Congress mainly affects development and infrastructure programs being supervised by USAID but not the support for the security services.

Israeli government officials declined comment Monday on the partial suspension of U.S. aid. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while staunchly opposed to Abbas’ decision to seek U.N. recognition, has not rushed to retaliate.

Despite the increasingly heated rhetoric, the two sides continue to cooperate on a practical level.

Palestinian security forces work with their Israeli counterparts in keeping Islamic militants in the West Bank in check, while Israel every month transfers to the Palestinians tens of millions of dollars it collects on their behalf in taxes and other payments.



More of today's headlines

Austin, TX - Texas prosecutors agreed Monday to release an Austin man who spent nearly 25 years in prison for beating his wife to death — but always maintained his... New York - The latest setback in Europe's financial crisis is sending stocks sharply lower. The S&P 500, the benchmark for most U.S. stock funds, slumped to its lowest...

 

Total16

Read Comments (16)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 03, 2011 at 06:16 PM 5TResident Says:

I really do not like this maneuver. The PA can appeal to the UN that the US is taking food away from Palestinian children. Everyone knows that the PA leaders funnel most of the money to themselves but nobody wants to acknowledge this publicly. I also dont like the US sticking its neck out for Israel - it gives fuel to the anti-Semites who claim that Jews run the country.

2

 Oct 03, 2011 at 06:21 PM kligermentch Says:

dont wory the leauge of arab nations will pick up the tab, they have much more money than the united states has, the united states is sending all of their money to the arabs and geting some oil for the money, just like a drunk is paying for his alcohol

3

 Oct 03, 2011 at 08:41 PM esther Says:

this has got to be one of the most biased articles the ap has written yet."donor countries have given billions of dollars over the years...an economy battered by conflct with israel and continued israeli restriction on trade and movement". besides the fact that it is the palis that have chosen conflict or to be more accurate,extreme violence there, leaders have pocketed most of the relief money.

4

 Oct 03, 2011 at 09:11 PM esther Says:

Reply to #1  
5TResident Says:

I really do not like this maneuver. The PA can appeal to the UN that the US is taking food away from Palestinian children. Everyone knows that the PA leaders funnel most of the money to themselves but nobody wants to acknowledge this publicly. I also dont like the US sticking its neck out for Israel - it gives fuel to the anti-Semites who claim that Jews run the country.

like the anti semites need fuel. what kind of twisted,galus thinking is this?

5

 Oct 03, 2011 at 09:15 PM Anonymous Says:

It's high time that United States stop giving them aid. In fact, it would have been far more moral to have made the abandonment of terror and violence as a condition for any aid. The only way such a condition could be imposed would be to only offer the aid if there was an extended period of NO terror. United States could have saved billions of dollars.

6

 Oct 03, 2011 at 09:22 PM kligermentch Says:

Reply to #3  
esther Says:

this has got to be one of the most biased articles the ap has written yet."donor countries have given billions of dollars over the years...an economy battered by conflct with israel and continued israeli restriction on trade and movement". besides the fact that it is the palis that have chosen conflict or to be more accurate,extreme violence there, leaders have pocketed most of the relief money.

for the amount of money that was donated in the past 60 years to the palastinians, from all over the world, they could of had the largest and most efficeint economy in the world, if they the palastinians would have a bit of common sense, to see that all the money is going into a few pockets of the leaders, all the money is being taken by the (SO CALED) leaders, that are doing all they could to have this same situation continue, for ever, otherwise they will have no world funds to exist on, they dont want anything good for the palastinian people in general

7

 Oct 03, 2011 at 09:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
5TResident Says:

I really do not like this maneuver. The PA can appeal to the UN that the US is taking food away from Palestinian children. Everyone knows that the PA leaders funnel most of the money to themselves but nobody wants to acknowledge this publicly. I also dont like the US sticking its neck out for Israel - it gives fuel to the anti-Semites who claim that Jews run the country.

dont try to make the anti-semites happy by doing what they think is proper, just do the exact opposite, that is the only way to make them feel good, because their mind is thinking the opposite of what is normal

8

 Oct 04, 2011 at 06:15 AM Michoel Dovid Says:

If they have been getting billions of dollars from countries over the years, they should be looking a whole lot better than they are now. In any job/charity/organization one needs to show where the money goes and what it has accomplished. I say send them nothing. They are not using it for any good. The U.S., no any other country, is obligated to give them money. Let Hamas make cold-calling phone calls to raise money here and there.

If it is really needed to feed their young, fine. Let's import all their kids under 10 and take care of them. It will cost a lot less.

9

 Oct 03, 2011 at 11:57 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #1  
5TResident Says:

I really do not like this maneuver. The PA can appeal to the UN that the US is taking food away from Palestinian children. Everyone knows that the PA leaders funnel most of the money to themselves but nobody wants to acknowledge this publicly. I also dont like the US sticking its neck out for Israel - it gives fuel to the anti-Semites who claim that Jews run the country.

That's ridiculous, the US warned Abbas that this would be the consequence. They had no choice but to follow through. On the other hand, with all the rich Arab Countries that we all pay through the nose to, why is it that America has to fund them and not their own Muslim brothers?

10

 Oct 04, 2011 at 01:27 AM RebKlemson Says:

abbas has been due for an election for about 2 years now...not that that raises any eyebrows

11

 Oct 04, 2011 at 07:26 AM Butterfly Says:

I would not worry, the Saudis are giving them millions!!

12

 Oct 04, 2011 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Has anyone here followed the news that the White House is fighting Congress and trying to release the money. Both parties in the House and Senate are in favor of the withholding, and Obama and his henchmen are counting on the pressure through the few Representatives and Senators who oppose the withholding. I hope Obama goes down in history as having been among the worst enemies of Israel, and the greatest supporter on Muslim terror.

13

 Oct 04, 2011 at 10:25 AM Phineas Says:

Reply to #11  
Butterfly Says:

I would not worry, the Saudis are giving them millions!!

Actually the Saudis and Gulf States have commited to billions but have not honored those commitments.

14

 Oct 04, 2011 at 11:47 AM CommonSense Says:

Reply to #4  
esther Says:

like the anti semites need fuel. what kind of twisted,galus thinking is this?

twisted galus thinking is what helped us survive 2000 years...

15

 Oct 04, 2011 at 04:00 PM esther Says:

you mean like when mordechai refused to bow down to haman?

16

 Oct 04, 2011 at 04:28 PM CommonSense Says:

Reply to #15  
esther Says:

you mean like when mordechai refused to bow down to haman?

That was Mordechai refusing to bow to a live idol..nothing to do with Nationalism.
Mordechai was a good "court Jew". The type of person you despise.

17

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:
Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!