Renewal of $200 million in US aid must include annulment of anti-terror laws, say PA
Headline: “USAID is holding talks with various Palestinian institutions without coordinating with the [PA] government”
“The new American administration recently announced that it will renew the financial aid to Palestine at a sum of more than $200 million. The aid package – which is still pending the approval of the [US] Congress – includes $75 million as aid for the economy and for development, $10 million for peace-building programs through USAID, and $150 million to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The US will also renew the funding for the Palestinian national security aid plans and will provide $15 million to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 and the lack of nutritional security in Palestine.
In light of these figures, the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute – MAS held a roundtable meeting under the title ‘On the Road to a New Deal’ of American aid to Palestine…
[Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sinokrot Global Group and former PA Minister of Economy] Mazen Sinokrot emphasized in his speech that Palestine needs the American aid, but without difficult conditions that harm the Palestinian people’s honor.He noted that the Taylor Force Act (i.e., a US law cutting aid to the PA if it continues paying terror salaries) – which was ratified in the previous term of [US President Donald] Trump and determines that the American aid will be stopped to the Palestinian administration if it continues to pay the prisoners and Martyrs’ salaries – is a discriminatory law that is unfair towards the State of Palestine. He added that much time is required to change it, and that it constitutes a stumbling block for American-Palestinian ties in the future.
[PA] Prime Minister [Muhammad Shtayyeh’s] Advisor Dr. Estephan Salameh emphasized in his speech that the American aid to Palestine was the highest (just in the American fiscal year 2009-2010 it reached $1.159 billion) [parentheses in source], while today Germany is considered the largest donor to Palestine. He added that this reflects the impact of many discriminatory American laws regarding Palestine, including the Anti-‘Terrorism’ Act of 1987 that considered the PLO as a terror organization from that time on – which has interfered and continues to interfere in the arrival of aid to Palestine.
On everything regarding the new American administration, Dr. Salameh added that the Palestinian government positively views the measures that this administration has declared, even though the aid that has come from it until now is modest compared to the traditional support for Palestine, although it is politically essential and important at the current time. He especially noted the aid that is being given to UNRWA, which conveys a clear message on everything connected to the rights of the Palestinian refugees…
Salameh noted: ‘The topic of aid is important, but it is not the main thing, as the political topic and creating a true political process based on clear foundations that will lead to the establishment of the Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem is the most important topic for us.’
He recommended to view the changing of the American laws that are unfair towards Palestine, and especially the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Act, as a central issue, because this matter limits and restricts the reception of aid…
[Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Asala Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association] Rajaa Rantisi [Hamayel] emphasized the adherence to the American aid given to UNRWA, as it has symbolic significance for the Palestinian people because its target audience is refugees, but as for the rest of the American aid – there is room for debate over its priority and significance. Rantisi noted that the American aid must not be stipulated on any kind of political conditions, and that it always must be given to the Palestinian people, regardless of which American administration is in power.
Rantisi commented on the law defining the Palestinian resistance operations (i.e., terror attacks) as terror operations and as incitement to violence, due to which it was decided to stop the transfer of the American money to the Palestinian people, because some of it will be given to the families of the prisoners and Martyrs. She demanded that they stop implementing this decision.
She also noted that the European aid has begun to move towards conditional aid, and she directed attention to the dangerous consequences of the issue.
Regarding the renewal of the American aid to the Palestinian people, Rantisi noted that the USAID agency has begun dialogues with various Palestinian institutions without contacting a defined source of authority and without holding any kind of coordination with the Palestinian government.”
The Taylor Force Act - US law named after US citizen Taylor Force who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv on March 8, 2016, which cuts almost all funding to the PA if it continues paying salaries to terrorists and allowances to families of "Martyrs."