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Erekat: 'PA informed US to stop sending security aid'

Jan. 22, 2019 1:38 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2019 3:33 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority (PA) told the United States that if the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act 2018 comes into force, it might as well stop sending the security aid money.

US President Donald Trump signed the act into law in October which is expected to go into effect at the start of next month. Under this act, recipients of US security aid could be sued in US courts for acts committed in their countries that caused death or injury to US citizens and therefore will be compelled to pay millions of dollars in compensation for their families if the courts rule so.

In an interview with Palestine TV, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, at the request of President Mahmoud Abbas, has delivered a letter to the US administration a few days ago informing it to stop sending security aid, the only remaining US aid to the Palestinians after cutting all other aid, if the anti-terrorism act goes into force.

Erekat reiterated that the US has cut $844 million in aid to the Palestinians last year, including $359 million that were allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), $231 million for infrastructure projects carried out by USAID, including shutting down the agency, $90 million that were allocated to hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem, and $175 million to Palestinian civil society organizations and projects.

He stressed, “USAID is expected to shut down its operations in the Palestinian territories, dismiss hundreds of Palestinian employees and stop all work by the end of this month when the act goes into effect, which means many infrastructure projects such as roads, sewage networks and schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip worth millions of dollars will be abandoned and left uncompleted.”

Erekat said, “This administration believes that pressuring and blackmailing the Palestinian leadership and using tools for pressure such as aid are going to get the Palestinians to accept what the US administration and the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are trying to impose on the Palestinian people,” noting that the Palestinians will never allow this to happen.

The Palestinians have cut all contacts with the US administration after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018.

Since then, the US also ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington late 2018.

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