REPORT – USA : In final presidential hours, Obama quietly gave Palestinian Authority $221mn

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So where does ‘Palestine’ get its money from?  A good question which came to mind a while back.

‘Palestinians’ in Judaea & Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid.

Aid has been offered to the Palestinian National Authority and other Palestinian Non-governmental organizations by the international community, including International Non-governmental Organisations .

The entities that provide aid to the Palestinians are categorised into seven groups: the Arab nations, the European Union, the United States, Japan, international institutions (including agencies of the UN system), European countries, and other nations.

Jim Zanotti, MA, JD, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in a July 3, 2014 CRS report titled “U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians,”  wrote:

“Since the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed approximately $5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, who are among the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid. Successive Administrations have requested aid for the Palestinians in apparent support of at least three major U.S. policy priorities of interest to Congress:

• Preventing terrorism against Israel from Hamas and other militant organizations.
• Fostering stability, prosperity, and self-governance in the West Bank that inclines Palestinians toward peaceful coexistence with Israel and a ‘two-state solution,’
• Meeting humanitarian needs…

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest providers of aid to the Palestinian people. Since 2002, Saudi Arabia has given more than $480 million in monetary support to the Palestinian Authority, and has supported Palestinian refugees by contributing to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Through the Arab League it has provided more than $250 million for the ‘Palestinians’, and pledged $500 million in assistance over the next three years at the Donors Conference in Dec 2007.

According to the Development Assistance Committee, the main multilateral donors for the 2006–2007 period were UNRWA and the EU (through the European Commission); the main bilateral donors were the US, Japan, Canada and five European countries (Norway, Germany, Sweden, Spain and France).

Since 1993 the European Commission and the EU member-states combined have been by far the largest aid contributor to the ‘Palestinians’

The Arab League states have also been substantial donors, mainly through budgetary support to the  Palestinian National Authority – PNA during the Second Intifada; they have been however criticised for not sufficiently financing the UNRWA and the PNA, and for balking at their pledges.

After the 2006 ‘Palestinian’ elections, the Arab countries tried to contribute to the payment of the ‘Palestinian’ public servants’ wages, bypassing the PNA; at the same time Arab funds were paid directly to Abbas’ office for disbursement.

During the Paris Conference, 11% of the pledges came from the US and Canada, 53% from Europe and 20% from the Arab countries.

From 2000 the European Union had provided over €1.6 billion to UNRWA, supposedly a relief and human development agency primarily aimed to help ‘Palestinian’ refugees and other segments of ‘Palestinian’ society, beside additional financial aid to ‘Palestinians’.

In 2013 UNRWA received 294,023,401 millions of dollars from USA, 216,386,867 millions of dollars from EU, 151,566,702 millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, 93,737,454 millions of dollars, from Sweden 54,439,768 millions of dollars, from Germany 53,061,050 millions of dollars, from Norway 34,595,162 millions of dollars, from Japan 28,836,915 millions of dollars, from Switzerland 23,267,282 millions of dollars, from Australia 22,445,260 millions of dollars, from Netherlands 20,049,472 from Denmark 18,638,884, millions of dollars from Kuwait 17,000,000, millions of dollars, from France 12,852,039 millions of dollars from Italy 10,714,805 millions of dollars, from Belgium 10,271,039 millions of dollars and smaller amounts from other countries as well, totaling 1,091,649,846 billions of dollars in the year of 2013.

 

Just before leaving office, President Barack Obama reportedly authorized the discreet transfer of more than $227 million to foreign accounts, circumventing Republicans who were blocking the funds.
Over 97 percent went to the Palestinian Authority.

According to a State Department official and several Congressional aides, the Associated Press reported, some $221 million went to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the interim self-governing Palestinian body established in 1994.

The rest of the funds were allocated to agencies around the world, with $4 million going to climate change programs for cutting emissions and creating a climate technology center, $1.25 million going to the UN Peacebuilding Fund and other UN programs, and $1.05 million going to the State Department’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan office and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

The funds for the Palestinian Authority were originally approved by Congress in the fiscal years 2015 to 2016 and were aimed at supporting humanitarian aid efforts in the West Bank and Gaza, but GOP lawmakers put a hold on the funds. Rep. Ed Royce (R-California), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, took issue with funding the PA, which he claimed funds terrorism.

In a July 2016 statement by Royce, he said the PA uses US aid money as a “martyrs’ fund” to pay “the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers.

It’s hard to see how this ‘pay to slay’ policy wouldn’t put them on the state sponsor of terrorism list,” Royce said.

In the past, presidents have respected holds placed on funds by Congress. However, they always had the power to overturn any holds after the funds were allocated. Obama, who was a strong supporter of the Palestinian Authority, had pressed Congress for years to release the funds.

In 2012, Congress froze a $192 million aid package for the PA after President Mahmoud Abbas sought UN statehood in 2011.

Obama lifted the ban, stating that the aid was “important to the security interests of the United States,” the Times of Israel reported.

President Donald Trump, who has vowed to be a pro-Israel president, has been critical of the UN’s decision to recognize the PA.

Trump’s plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem caused outrage from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who wrote an official letter to Trump, saying the move would have a “disastrous impact on the peace process, on the two-state solution and on the stability and security of the entire region.”

Trump’s pick for Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, called the Israel-Palestine two-state solution “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs” in a 2016 column for Israel National News.

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