The United States has ceased handing out even more USAID and financial assistance to Gaza and the West Bank after Washington had already cut hundreds of millions of dollars in UNHRA aid to the so-called ‘Palestinians’ last year. The move is linked to new U.S. law under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terror lawsuits.
As final Trump cuts take effect, tens of thousands of residents of the West Bank and Gaza are no longer getting food assistance or basic health services from America. (Good, let them get it from their Arab neighbors if they don’t want to work for it)
Al-Jazeera (h/t Maurice) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, according to a US official. The decision announced on Friday was linked to a January 31 deadline set by new US legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.
The deadline also sees the end of about $60m in US aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.
During 2018, the Trump administration cut all forms of U.S. civil assistance to the Palestinians, but it did not touch the security assistance, stating that the security coordination between the PA and Israel serves American foreign policy interests. Now, however, the end of U.S. support for the PA security forces puts the continuation of efficient security coordination at risk.
Congress’s Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war”.
USAID is the main agency administering US foreign assistance in the Palestinian territories.
According to its website, the agency spent $268m on public projects in the West Bank and Gaza as well as Palestinian private sector debt repayment in 2017, but there were significant cuts to all new funding through the end of June 2018.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “The suspension of aid to our people, which included critical sectors such as health and education, will have a negative impact on all, create a negative atmosphere, and increase instability.”
The Palestinian Authority is an interim self-government body set up following the 1993 Oslo peace accords. The peace process, aimed at finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been stalled since 2014.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Ismail Rudwan condemned the stopping of aid, deploring what he called “politicised money”. The USAID announcement comes after humanitarian officials in the West Bank and Gaza said they were facing a general cutback in funding from donors worldwide.
Last year, Washington cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians, which included funding to humanitarian groups supported by USAID.
In August, Washington announced an end to all US funding for the UNHR Aagency that assists Palestinian refugees. The agency received $364m from the US in 2017.
In January, the World Food Programme cut food aid to about tens of thousands of Palestinians due to a shortage of funds.