Admin to Continue 'Essential' Palestinian Aid Despite Next Statehood Bid
The Obama administration indicated this week that it will continue funding the Palestinian Authority despite pushback from Congress.
At the end of April, the White House announced on a Friday night that, despite President Mahmoud Abbas' unilateral attempts to garner a declaration of statehood for the territories, it was "important to the national security interests of the United States" to waive the funding restriction.
That announcement came shortly after the Obama administration granted another waiver to give Egypt its full $1.3 billion in military aid despite the congressional conditions that mandated the country take democratic steps to receive the funding. Again, the waiver was granted on national security grounds.
Last month, the Palestinians denied reports that the U.S. was threatening to cut aid if the PLO continues a statehood push at the United Nations, even as congressional efforts continue to block the funding.
But on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority was trying to round up support among foreign diplomats for a renewed statehood bid, reported the BBC. Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO executive committee member, said that the territories would need a financial "safety net" in case the U.S. cut off aid because of the move.
"In light of the failed peace process and the inability of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its illegal occupation of Palestine and its countless unilateral violations of international and humanitarian law, Palestinians will persist in their efforts to seek state status, whether in the UN Security Council or in the UN General Assembly," Ashrawi said.
"We reserve the right to undertake diplomatic and non-violent means to approach UN agencies and organizations for membership, and such efforts, consistent with the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and freedom, are a test of global consensus and rule of law."
But according to the State Department, the Palestinians can rest easy about their chunk of cash from Washington.