US Paid Millions to PA Security Forces, despite Aid Freeze (VIDEO)

Palestinians protest PA sanctions on Gaza. (Photo: via Twitter)

The US has released millions of dollars in frozen aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), but only for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation.

The revelations show that the US “chose to allocate specific funds for the current fiscal year to specific PA programs that ostensibly serve American interests,” a US State Department official said yesterday.

The exact amount given to the PA was not disclosed and reports speculating on the figures have varied.

The Times of Israel estimated the figure to stand at $42 million, while Haaretz reported that,

“an American official told Haaretz the released sum is $61 million, while two other sources claimed it was closer to $35 million”.

US media organization National Public Radio, added that the US administration is now

“Deciding which other Palestinian aid projects it might unfreeze, based on whether the projects meet national security interests and policy goals and provide value to US taxpayers”.

US aid to Palestine has been frozen since the start of 2018 when President Donald Trump’s administration declared an internal review of its policy.

The president also announced that $65 million would be withheld from UNRWA, the UN body that provides education, healthcare, and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem, as well as those Palestinians living in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

In the wake of cuts to UNRWA funding, the body has been forced to dismiss 13 percent of its emergency program workers in the besieged Gaza Strip and move 57 percent on to part-time contracts.

A further 1,000 employees working in emergency programs are threatened with dismissal.

Last week, UNWRA staff in the besieged Gaza Strip protested the move outside the organization’s headquarters, with deputy head of the UNRWA Staff Union, Amal Al-Batsh, saying that

“We came today to tell UNRWA that its harsh measures against the employees working in the emergency program are unacceptable”.

Other countries also followed this US line, with the Israeli Knesset approving a bill to deduct tax revenue from the PA equal to the amount it paid to the families of Palestinian prisoners.

In July, Australia announced that it would stop direct aid to the PA citing concern over these so-called “martyr payments”.

Relations between the US and the PA have been strained since President Trump announced in December 2017 that he would relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem.

In protest of the move, the PA recalled its ambassador to the US and has since boycotted interactions with the superpower.

In June, six Palestinian officials scheduled to give a presentation at the UN office in New York were denied US visas without explanation. Palestinian UN Ambassador, Riyad Mansour, said that “the Israeli occupying power complicated the matter” further by refusing to allow several of the experts to go to Jerusalem to check on their visas.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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