Carter: US should avoid barring funding to PA

Former US President Jimmy Carter said Friday that the United States would have to cut off direct funding to the Palestinian Authority as soon as Hamas takes control, but it should look for other ways to give money to the Palestinians. "United States law would require that the money would be cut off if Hamas is in the government, so that's a foregone conclusion," Carter told The Associated Press. Instead, the United States should increase its donations to UN and other aid groups earmarked for the Palestinians to make up for the cut in direct aid "so that the people can still continue to have food and shelter and health care and education," Carter said. The US Consulate in Jerusalem said the United States gave the Palestinian Authority US $400 million in direct aid last year. On Friday, Carter met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who told him that the Palestinian Authority did not even have enough money to pay salaries at the end of the month, and that is with the help of foreign aid, Carter said. If the aid is cut off, "it would create an element of chaos unless the money is made up by other sources," he said. "If the Arab countries come through and the European countries continue to help and maybe Japan, they could continue to operate."