US lawmaker releases hold on aid to Palestinians

March 23, 2012 20:22

WASHINGTON - An influential US Republican lawmaker, Representative Kay Granger, said on Friday she was releasing $147 million in US development aid for the Palestinians that she had blocked since last August.

But it was unclear whether the money could be spent, because another senior Republican, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has also had a "hold" on the funds for months. A spokesman for Ros-Lehtinen could not be reached for comment.

Both Granger and Ros-Lehtinen barred expenditure of the US funds last year because they objected to the Palestinian push for recognition at the United Nations. They argued that the path to Palestinian statehood was via a peace treaty with Israel.

Granger on Friday said she had decided to release the money for humanitarian reasons, and to help stability in the Palestinian territories.

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