(January 30, 2019 / JNS) Barring a legislative fix, the annual $35 million in U.S. security assistance that goes to the Palestinian Authority will expire on Feb. 1.
“We continue to work through the potential impact of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA),” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told JNS. “In consultation with partners, we have taken steps to wind down certain projects and programs in the West Bank and Gaza.”
The ATCA, signed into law in October, provides protections for American victims of international terrorism and subjects foreign governments that receive U.S. funding to American counter-terrorism laws.
The P.A. confirmed the move: “The money will be cut off,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told AFP. “We don’t want to receive any money if this will take us to court.”
“We are not seeking anything. The Americans have made a decision,” he added. “But we are going to continue being part of fighting terror in the region.”
Additionally, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s operations in the West Bank and Gaza will shutter on Friday unless Congress acts.
“We have strict guidelines on who we work with, and that’s simply not just what we do, but across the U.S. government,” USAID administrator Mark Green told JNS last month.
Without elaborating, he said there “are guidelines that we follow. We follow administration policy.”
New York-based hedge-fund manager Sander Gerber, who was instrumental in the passage of the Taylor Force Act, told JNS that cutting off aid to the P.A. security forces presents a “conundrum” for Israel and the United States.
“The P.A. security services are firstly devoted to preserving the P.A., secondarily they cooperate with Israel to stop bad actors that would operate against the P.A.,” he said.
However, at the same time, the P.A. also pays terrorist families and incites the Palestinian people, which hurts Israel in the long term.
“Israel benefits from P.A. security services which maintain the P.A. regime, while the P.A. pays terrorists by law and represses the Palestinian people, radicalizing them to hate the Jews and prevents a realistic peace process,” said Gerber.
“So appeasing the P.A. provides short-term benefits, but the problem is that support for it is the major barrier to peace.”