The Palestinian Authority (PA) says it will refuse American aid in its entirety after Washington cut humanitarian funds to Palestinians, adding that accepting such help could carry unwelcome legal consequences for the Ramallah-based administration.
The Authority “sent an official letter to the U.S. administration requesting it stop all aid to the PA, including assistance to the Palestinian security services,” senior negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Jan. 22. U.S. President Donald Trump has already pledged to cut almost all humanitarian aid to Palestinians. American-funded projects are being phased out gradually.
Erekat further said the decision was made due to concerns over the so-called Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), approved by President Trump in October 2018, which makes it possible for U.S. citizens to sue foreign entities that receive U.S. aid. This may prompt U.S. families to start exposing the PA to “costly” lawsuits over alleged “past Palestinian attacks,” AFP said. American authorities have, in the past, blamed Palestinians for “political violence” targeting American interests inside and outside the occupied territories. This is while Washington provides an annual military aid of around $3 billion to Israel, which engages in routine deadly acts of aggression against Palestinians. PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah wrote in the letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo back on December 26, 2018 that “as of January 31st, 2019, it fully disclaims and no longer wishes to accept any form of assistance referenced in ATCA.” The U.S. aid features roughly $50 million in annual support for Palestinian security services, including support for security coordination with the regime in Tel Aviv. Israel claims that the coordination is “crucial” for maintaining calm in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli acts of aggression are a daily occurrence. Relations between the PA and the U.S., already strained due to Washington’s unwavering support for Israel, took an unprecedented dip in late 2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” in the face of the Palestinians’ internationally-recognized claims to the occupied city. The PA, in response, stopped recognizing any mediation role by Washington in the decades-long conflict with the Israeli regime.
Ismat Raza / meezannews.com