PLO chief: Palestinian Authority told US it does not want their money
Ramallah : The Palestinian Authority (PA) told the United States that if the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act 2018 comes into force, it might as well stop sending the security aid money.
US President Donald Trump signed the act into law in October which is expected to go into effect at the start of next month. Under this act, recipients of US security aid could be sued in US courts for acts committed in their countries that caused death or injury to American citizens and therefore will be compelled to pay millions of dollars in compensation for their families if the courts rule so.
Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Dr. Saeb Erekat told Palestine TV that Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, at the request of President Mahmoud Abbas, has delivered a letter to the US administration a few days ago informing it to stop the security aid, the only remaining US aid to the Palestinians after cutting all other aid, if the anti-terrorism act goes into force.
Erekat said the US has cut $844 million in aid to the Palestinians last year, including $359 million that were allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), $231 million for infrastructure projects carried out by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), $90 million that were allocated to hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem, and $175 million to Palestinian civil society organizations and projects.
He said USAID is expected to shut down its operations in the Palestinian territories, dismiss hundreds of Palestinian employees and stop all work by the end of this month when the act goes into effect. This means that many infrastructure projects such as roads, sewage networks and schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip worth millions of dollars will be abandoned and left uncompleted.
“This administration believes that pressuring and blackmailing the Palestinian leadership and using tools for pressure, such as aid, are going to get the Palestinians to accept what the US administration and the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are trying to impose on the Palestinian people,” the PLO chief said, stressing that this will not happen.
The Palestinians have cut all contacts with the Trump administration after the latter recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. The US has also ordered shutting the PLO delegation office in Washington late last year.