US delivers $148m. in aid to Palestinian Authority

Aid delivered “to help the Palestinian Authority avert a budget crisis"; overall package could amount to over $4b. in investments.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
August 20, 2013 01:04
1 minute read.
PA President Abbas with new prime minister Hamdallah.

Abbas and Hamdallah 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

 
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WASHINGTON – The United States has delivered $148 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority in an agreement signed by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Sunday.

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.

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In 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 official said.

“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.”

Roughly 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 said.

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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 said.

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.

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