WASHINGTON – The United States has delivered $148 million in aid to the
Palestinian Authority in an agreement signed by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah
The aid was delivered “to help the Palestinian Authority avert
a budget crisis and to support US efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” a US official told The Jerusalem Post.
his memorandum to Secretary of State John Kerry issuing the waiver of
restriction of funds, President Barack Obama said that the aid “is important to
the national security interests of the Unites States.”
The waiver is in
line with previous waivers exercised by this and previous administrations, the
“Direct budget support to the PA is the most immediate and
efficient means of helping the PA maintain and build the foundations of a
viable, peaceful Palestinian state,” the official added.
“There has been
a recurring budget crisis in the PA, year in and year out, for as long as anyone
can remember,” said David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute
for Near East Policy. “But even though the PA is short of cash, the Palestinian
economy in the West Bank is showing pretty good signs of life.”
half of the PA budget is spent on Gaza, which provides the government with
little return but is required to continue its linkage with the troubled
Palestinian strip. The $148 million will likely be spent on PA salaries, Pollock
Announcing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in
Washington last month, Kerry said that he was working with private sector
businesses and allied governments on committing significant investments in both
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The overall package could amount to
over $4 billion in investments.
“What we know is that it is significant,
but the details and the timetable have yet to be worked out,” Pollock
US officials have said that Israel, in a tangible overture for
peace, agreed to help alleviate regulations that would allow for economic growth
in the Palestinian territories.