Barack Hussein Obama on Friday afternoon ordered another waiver of congressional restrictions on direct funding of the Palestinian Authority, clearing the way for more U.S. aid (so Palestinians can continue to live off the American taxpayer dole)
Washington Times (h/t Martin) In the one-page order, Mr. Obama said he was taking the action due to the “national security interests” of the U.S. The move comes as the administration is preparing to host renewed direct talks in Washington between Palestinians and Israelis for the first time since 2010.
The president in March directed about $500 million to be sent to the Palestinian Authority, also waiving the restrictions set by Congress. At the time, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said he was seeking to move another $200 million to the Palestinians.
Some lawmakers oppose the aid, both because of sequestration budget cuts and the Palestinian Authority’s ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. An administration official said the president will send $148 million to the Palestinian Authority, calling it “the most immediate and efficient means of helping the Arabs of Palestine maintain and build the foundations of a viable, peaceful Palestinian state.”
Times of Israel The US Congress froze a $192 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority after its president, Mahmoud Abbas, defied US pressure and sought to attain UN endorsement of Palestinian statehood last September. The presidential waiver means that aid can now be delivered.
The unilateral statehood gambit was strongly opposed by Israel, which said Abbas was seeking to avoid negotiating the necessary compromises and modalities of statehood with Israel. The US indicated it would veto a resolution in the Security Council seeking unilateral recognition of “Palestine,” but the issue has not come to a vote, because the Palestinians were unable to obtain sufficient support in the Security Council. They may yet seek a non-binding endorsement of statehood in the UN General Assembly.
Section 3 of Congress’s Palestinian Accountability Act, which applies to 2012, stipulates that “no funds available to any United States Government department or agency … may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.” Obama has now signed a waiver, however, the White House said Friday, and asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to inform Congress accordingly.
The AFP news agency quoted White House spokesman Tommy Vietor as saying the $192 million aid package would be devoted to “ensuring the continued viability of the moderate PA government under the leadership of [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.” Vietor added that the PA had fulfilled its major obligations, such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and accepting the Road Map for Peace.