A leading lawmaker said Friday she is blocking $86 million (â‚¬65.6 million) in US aid for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at a time when the Bush administration wants to strengthen him in hopes of enhancing his ability to negotiate for peace.
Democrat Rep. Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House of Representatives panel that oversees foreign aid spending, said she wants a better understanding of the new political landscape in the Middle East and details on how the money would be used.
The Bush administration had requested the money to help security forces loyal to Abbas, who leads the secular Fatah party. For more than a year, he has been locked in conflict with terrorists from Hamas, elected last January to form a Palestinian government. Hamas is listed by the United States as a foreign terror organization.