A key US lawmaker cleared the way Monday for the Palestinian Authority to receive almost $200 million in aid, after the Obama administration convinced her that releasing security funds to the PA was in Israel’s and the United States’ interest.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that she would release her block on two separate sections of security aid – one for $50 million , and the second for $150 million.An additional $200 million in economic assistance is still being withheld by both the State and Foreign Relations Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Both the security and economic funds were frozen by Congress in August, in response to the PA’s strategy of seeking unilateral recognition of statehood during the UN General Assembly in September.
A second key house leader, State and Foreign Relations Appropriations Subcommittee Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), had used her committee to freeze only the economic aid, believing PA security forces aided in countering the influence of Hamas. Ros-Lehtinen’s move has removed the last roadblock to the security aid package.