US Capitol building 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutsch and New York Democratic Congressman
Steve Israel have asked US Comptroller-General Gene Dodaro to investigate the
Palestinian Authority’s use of American funding.
The request this week
came three weeks after MK Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) had sent a letter to
the budget committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives, informing
them of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s policy of paying freed Palestinian
prisoners who had been convicted of murder $5,000 and building them new
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Matalon received a copy of the congressmen’s letter on
“Many of the released prisoners were convicted of orchestrating
and carrying out Hamas-sponsored terrorist attacks in Israel, including the
bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 21 people, the attack on a Netanya
hotel that killed 29 people, and the bombing of a Sbarro Pizzeria that killed 15
people,” Deutsch and Israel wrote.
The two congressmen explained to
Dodaro that they “are troubled by reports of President Abbas’ use of Palestinian
Investment Fund (PIF) funds to provide housing for these convicted
According to the letter, the US contributed to the PIF after
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad founded it in 2002 “under a framework of
transparency and accountability.” However, recently there has been
“ambiguity surrounding the amount of US taxpayer dollars contributed to the
PIF,” Deutsch and Israel wrote.
Aside from the issue of Abbas building
houses for convicted terrorists, Deutsch and Israel “are concerned about the
increasing lack of transparency for the PIF as well as reports that Prime
Minister Fayyad is no longer overseeing the fund and that Hamas has taken
control of PIF assets in Gaza.”
The letter also requested that the US
Government Accountability Office, which Dodaro heads, investigate whether US
Economic Support Funds (ESF) given to the PA were used to fund Abbas’s trips
around the world “on his misguided attempt to unilaterally declare statehood at
the United Nations... efforts that are in direct contravention of US
The congressmen said US ESF should not be used “to fund Mr.
Abbas’ extensive lobbying to achieve a Palestinian state by any means other than
direct negotiations with Israel.”
They added that “the US must be
unequivocally committed to ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to
serve the interests of the US and our allies around the world.”
letter three weeks ago, Matalon had written that Abbas was rewarding
“At the ceremony Abbas held [in honor of
released prisoners] in Ramallah, he is reported as having praised these
individuals for their ‘courage and sacrifice,’” the Israel Beiteinu MK wrote.
“The atrocities referred to by Abbas as acts of ‘courage’... include the murders
of scores of innocents, including women and children.”
He continued: “I
feel it incumbent upon myself to present these facts to you, as a fellow
parliamentarian, not as interference in your parliamentary activities, but
rather in order to ensure that the full facts are before you, as you deliberate
on whether to continue extending financial assistance to the Palestinian