U.s. Release $88.6 Million In Aid To Palestinians
Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:57 AM
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON | Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:25pm EDT
(Reuters) - Lawmakers on Friday released $88.6 million in development aid for the Palestinians that they had held up since last summer, a move that should help ease a fiscal crisis in the aid-dependent Palestinian economy.
Representative Kay Granger announced she was ready for the entire $147 million in U.S. assistance that had been frozen since August to go to the Palestinians.
But the other Republican who had a "hold" on the funds, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, limited the release to $88.6 million, saying in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was all she was willing to free up.
Ros-Lehtinen also said she was releasing the money with the understanding it would not be used for "assistance and recovery in Hamas-controlled Gaza," West Bank road construction, or trade and tourism promotion in the Palestinian territories. The United States considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
The letter did not say how the freed-up funds would be spent, but Ros-Lehtinen suggested earlier this week she would be willing to approve money targeted for water programs, health and food for the Palestinians.
Both Granger and Ros-Lehtinen had barred expenditure of the U.S. funds since last year because they objected to the Palestinian push for recognition at the United Nations. They argued that the path to Palestinian statehood was through a peace treaty with israel.
Granger said on Friday she had decided the money should be released for humanitarian reasons and to help stability in the Palestinian territories in a time of uncertainty across the Middle East.
"I have taken a strong position on aid to the PA (Palestinian Authority) to send a message that seeking statehood at the United Nations, forming a unity government with Hamas and walking away from the negotiating table with israel were not pathways to peace," Granger said in a statement.
"Right now it is in our interest - and the interest of our allies in the region - to allow aid to flow to address security and humanitarian concerns."
Granger chairs the House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee in charge of foreign aid, while Ros-Lehtinen chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Technically, the Obama administration can override the objections of individual lawmakers and spend aid money once it has been appropriated by Congress.
But successive administrations have generally deferred to holds on funds by key members of relevant committees.
Ros-Lehtinen complained in her letter to Clinton and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah that the administration had threatened to spend the money "over congressional objections" if the lawmakers' holds were not lifted.
"I am disappointed that the administration would employ hard-ball tactics against Congress," she said.
IMF URGES DONORS
Both Granger and Ros-Lehtinen have been pressured by the Obama administration as well as the international community to release the development aid, which Congress had appropriated for fiscal year 2011.
There have been growing warnings, including from the International Monetary Fund, that the Palestinians are facing a deepening financial crisis due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf states as well as israeli restrictions on trade.
The IMF urged donors last week to meet their aid pledges to the Palestinian Authority in the israeli-occupied West Bank, which has a projected 2012 budget deficit of $1.1 billion.
The United States has committed over $4 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians since the mid-1990s, the Congressional Research Service says.
Since fiscal year 2008, the annual U.S. contribution has averaged $600 million, the CRS says. Usually, that includes about $200 million in direct budgetary aid and $100 million in security aid for training Palestinian security forces, in addition to development aid, the CRS says.
Congress voted in December to allow aid to the Palestinians to continue in fiscal 2012 - the current fiscal year - as long as they were not admitted as a state to any more U.N. organizations. The Palestinians won admission to UNESCO in October, a move that prompted the United States to cut off funding to that agency.
We had better be sure not one penny ends up in hamas hands. If it did, I'd call for an end to ALL aid to the palestinians.
Posted 24 March 2012 - 01:07 AM
Posted 24 March 2012 - 01:27 AM
Life is invaluable. Helping Jews to form the terrorist country israel by killing and torturing Palestinians and then sending some money to 'help' is rather mockery.
You're right. We shouldn't give the palestinians a dime. The money would be better spent going to israel, our REAL allies. Not to the terrorists of hamas and hezbollah. That would please me and make things 'right'. Damn !! I should be President !!!
Edited by kellygreen, 24 March 2012 - 01:30 AM.
Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:54 AM
You're right. We shouldn't give the palestinians a dime. The money would be better spent going to Israel, our REAL allies. Not to the terrorists of hamas and hezbollah. That would please me and make things 'right'. Damn !! I should be President !!!
Israel is a problem for the US itself. The US would not be heading towards economic collapse today not nor would its Armies be facing defeat as they are right now nor would the US be so hated by the world as it is today if it wasn't Israel's ally. Israel is costing the US a LOT.
You might disagree right now and that's fine but you will agree once your empire collapses and (inshAllah) breaks up like the Soviets or the Romans. This is something which your own countrymen are now saying like Ron Paul. If you loved your country(the US) then you would be against alliance to Israel.
Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:51 AM
israel is a problem for the US itself. The US would not be heading towards economic collapse today not nor would its Armies be facing defeat as they are right now nor would the US be so hated by the world as it is today if it wasn't israel's ally. israel is costing the US a LOT.
Defeat ? While I don't think the U.S. should have gone into Iraq, it can hardly be called a 'defeat'. The U.S. flew its Army half way around the world, crushed the worlds forth largest army, for the SECOND time, stayed ten years, told the world WHEN they would leave, and left on that date. How is THAT 'defeat' ? Afghanistan is where the U.S. made a mistake. The U.S. should never have tried to drag the afghanis into the 21st century. The U.S. shouldn't have tried to 'nation-build'. Armies are for killing, not 'nation-building. We should have just gone in, killed who needed to be killed after 9/11 and left. The afghanis are too backward to comprehend how to live as a nation in a modern world. They're still 'tribal', like back in the 8th century. The arab world is jealous of the U.S. and israel because they've been around for thousands of years and they are STILL dumps, while the U.S. and israel are modern societies. If the U.S. cut ties with israel, the arabs would find another reason to hate the U.S. and the West.
You might disagree right now and that's fine but you will agree once your empire collapses and (inshAllah) breaks up like the Soviets or the Romans. This is something which your own countrymen are now saying like Ron Paul. If you loved your country(the US) then you would be against alliance to israel.
I don't think you or I will see the U.S. 'collapse, so I wouldn't hold my breathe if I were you. As the U.S. goes, so goes the world. Your mentioning of Ron Paul tells me all I need to know about you. RON PAUL IS A NUT-JOB !! HAHAHAHAHAHA !!! He hasn't pulled more than 9% in any primary. By rights, he shouldn't even be running anymore. He should have dropped out a month ago. It's OBVIOUS Ron Paul sucks because every U.S.- hater I know wants him to be President. HAHAHAHAHAHA !! Ron Paul. You're funny !!!