The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will refuse from the end of January the aid that the US government still provides him, so as not to expose himself to complaints in the United States for financing terrorism, said Tuesday a Palestinian official .
This decision is motivated by the adoption in the United States in 2018 of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), which allows US citizens to sue foreign governments receiving US assistance for terrorism.
But US and Israeli officials regularly accuse the Palestinian Authority of encouraging violence by paying money to relatives of attackers imprisoned or killed by Israeli forces.
The Palestinian authorities have “sent an official letter to the US administration asking them to stop all aid to the Palestinian Authority, including assistance to the Palestinian security services,” Saeb Erekat told AFP. the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
If the Palestinian Authority puts an end to this assistance, the existence of programs currently supported by the United States and the cooperation between Washington and the Authority in the field of security could be called into question.
This cooperation, a corollary of the security collaboration between Israel and the Authority, is often seen as essential to the stability of the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel and home to the Authority.
There will be “no impact on the role of the security services,” said Erekat.
Another senior Palestinian official, in charge of security, for his part felt that this decision would have consequences.
Some US companies working in the field of security services have already left the Palestinian territories, he told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the Palestinian Authority was seeking new funding.
Meanwhile, a US official said that the administration “worked” on the potential impact of ATCA and “took steps to gradually reduce certain projects and programs in the West Bank and Gaza”, Palestinian territory under Israeli blockade.
– “Taken hostage” –
US President Donald Trump has transferred the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he recognized as the capital of Israel in December 2017.
In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas froze the Authority’s relations with the US administration. Donald Trump then cut $ 500 million from American aid to the Palestinians.
So far, most projects relying on US aid have been phased out.
But, following the Authority’s decision to deny US aid, a school extension near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank may be suddenly halted, along with other infrastructure projects. in Palestinian cities.
The Palestinian village of al-Jabaa received last year an allowance from USAID, the US Agency for Development, to expand a part of his school where girls study.
The project began at the end of 2018 but will be stopped this week, while only a quarter of the work is completed and the rest of the school is out of use because of the site.
“If it had remained as before (the work begins), it would have been better than now,” says Diab Mashaala, mayor of this small village.
Malak Mashaala, one of the teachers, recalls that the project was to build a laboratory for science and a library.
“The decision to stop the construction makes us very angry,” he says.
“This school has been taken hostage,” said Sean Carroll, president of the Anera organization, who was working on the school site and other projects with USAID.
“It would have been hoped that reasonable minds would find a way to finish” the work, he regrets, considering it likely that the building remains under construction unless other sources of funding are found.