(December 13, 2018 / JNS) In response to reports that the Trump administration has been lobbying Congress to save U.S. funding towards the Palestinian Authority, a leader behind the original effort to successfully defund most of that assistance, is calling for the end of the remaining aid as planned.
“The [1992 Anti-Terrorism Act] law highlights the moral absurdity of the status quo,” New York-based hedge-fund manager Sander Gerber, who was instrumental in the passage of the Taylor Force Act, told JNS.
“The P.A. fights against certain terror organizations, but still proudly pays $350 million per year to civilians and their families who kill Israelis,” he continued. “Victims deserve compensation from the P.A. more than their murderers. I hope the Congress will not emasculate the law … [it is] high time to stop U.S. and Israeli appeasement of P.A.-sponsored terror.”
According to the Associated Press, “The striking turnabout is the result of the belated realization that an obscure new law will likely force the U.S. to terminate all aid to the Palestinian Authority, including security assistance supported by Israel, by the end of January.”
The law, the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, was signed in October and provides protections for American victims of international terrorism.
“Eliminating such aid, which totaled $61 million this year even as other assistance was being cut, would deal a blow to Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation that both sides value,” reported the Associated Press. “The law would also require the Jerusalem offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development to close.”
Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, refuted Gerber and told JNS that the security funding the United States gives the P.A. is crucial despite the latter’s problems.
“It’s one of the few positive points to note in what is otherwise a very fraught relationship,” he said. “The Palestinians and Israelis have been working closely to counter the activities of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations.”
“They’ve done a good job,” he added. “Cutting Palestinian assistance in this space in particular, I think, strikes many, even those who are hawkish, as problematic.”
Regarding USAID closing its operations in the West Bank and Gaza in early 2019, the agency’s administrator, Mark Green, told JNS on Wednesday: “We have strict guidelines on who we work with, and that’s simply not just what we do, but across the U.S. government.”
Without elaborating, he continued: “[There] are guidelines that we follow.”
“We follow administration policy,” added Green.