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PLO official: US has cut millions of dollars in aid, "the Palestinian leadership's position is to refuse all American aid"

"PLO Executive Committee Secretary [and Fatah Central Committee member] Saeb Erekat said… during a meeting with Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Egypt and its Permanent Representative in the Arab League Diab Al-Louh that… 'The American administration has stopped aid of hundreds of millions of dollars to our people and our institutions, as it has cut $844 million (sic., the PA demanded that the US stop the aid due to a US law making US aid recipients subject to American jurisdiction; see note below). This has caused the stopping of road, school, sewage, and water initiatives, and these initiatives have not been completed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and have been left incomplete, and also all scholarships that Palestinian students received have been stopped.'

Erekat emphasized that the Palestinian leadership's position is to refuse all American aid and the use of means of extortion of stopping the aid to the institutions of education, health, law, and so forth, and also the aid to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East; see note below –Ed.)."

Saeb Erekat also holds the position of PLO Chief Negotiator.

Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 - Among other things, this law gives US courts the jurisdiction to seize assets from any body that receives foreign aid from the US government, viewing their acceptance of US foreign aid as consent to US jurisdiction. This enables past and present victims of terror to successfully pursue lawsuits in US courts against such bodies that were connected in any way to the acts of terror. In the past many such cases have been thrown out due to lack of US jurisdiction. The law took effect on Feb. 1, 2019. In response to the law, the PA requested that the US end all of its foreign aid to the PA, which it did.

US President Donald Trump's administration announced on Aug. 31, 2018 that it was immediately cutting all $360 million of annual American funding to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). Explaining the decision, the US State Department said, "The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation."

The move came after the US froze two planned payments to UNRWA in early January 2018 for more than $100 million, and the US administration spoke about the need to reexamine and conduct a reform of the UN body. This occurred after the PA refused to negotiate with Israel and cut diplomatic ties with America following US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Dec. 6, 2017.