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US cuts off $200 million in aid to Palestinians

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian Authority has claimed its people are victims of “collective punishment” after accusing the United States of blocking $200 million in aid in response to President Mahmoud Abbas’s application for UN statehood.

The freeze on funds, which has been unpublicised, was reportedly put in place in August, ahead of Mr Abbas’s planned bid at the UN on September 20. The funds were said to have been allocated earlier in the financial year which ends today.

“It is another kind of collective punishment which is going to harm the needs of the public without making any positive contribution,” Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib told The Independent.

He told the newspaper: “It is ironic to be punished for going to the United Nations”.

The Obama administration is reportedly negotiating with Congressional leaders over unlocking the aid. The White House has reportedly also urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to help keep aid flowing to the Palestinians.

The Congressional threat to cut off aid has previously been dismissed as political grandstanding.

“Everybody knows the US Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world,” former president Bill Clinton told ABC News recently. “They don’t have to demonstrate that.”

USAID has already begun to wind down aid operations in the West Bank and Gaza, and Western aid sources fear the agency could have to shut down all humanitarian work as well as distribution of budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority by January.

There are fears that any major cut off in aid could prompt a crisis in the Palestinian Security Forces, who have kept the peace in the West Bank for many years, rounding up Hamas militants and others considered undesirable.

“Security co-operation with the Palestinians is excellent at the moment and we do not want to jeopardise that,” a senior official close to the Israeli armed forces said.


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  • Al Sheeber

    The Saudis will cover up the loss, the Obama weirdos will pass through the jizya money to the Saudis in some devious way and everybody will be happy!

  • Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has been slowly phasing out economic aid to Israel and gradually replacing it with increased military aid. Beginning in 2007, the U.S. has increased military aid by $150 million each year. By FY2012, we will be sending Israel $3.09 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and will continue to provide military aid at that level through 2018. U.S. tax dollars are subsidizing one of the most powerful foreign militaries. According to the CRS report, “[current U.S. military aid] grants to Israel represent 18.2% of the overall Israeli defense budget.”

    Contrary to ordinary U.S. policy, Israel has been and continues to be allowed to use approximately 25% of this military aid to purchase equipment from Israeli manufacturers. According to CRS, “no other recipient of U.S. military assistance has been granted this benefit.” Thanks in part to this indirect U.S. subsidy, Israel’s arms industry has become one of the strongest in the world. “Between 2001 an 2008, it was the 7th largest arms supplier to the world with sales worth a total of 9.9 billion.”

    In addition to military aid, the United States continues to provide Israel with additional aid and benefits. The numbers are not yet available for FY2009, but are likely to be significant.

    By all accounts the United States has given more money to Israel than to any other country. The Congressional Research Service’s conservative estimate of total cumulative US aid to Israel (not adjusted for inflation) from 1949 through 2010 is $109.001 billion.

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