Palestinians want direct US aid

The Palestinian Authority is pressing the Bush administration to reverse a long-standing policy that blocks United States aid from going to it directly.

    US funds crucial for PA

    Palestinian representative in Washington, Hassan Abdel Rahman, said there was now  transparency in addition to a reformed financial system. So, there was no reason why US assistance should not go directly to the finance ministry under the Palestinian Authority (PA).

    By providing the aid directly to the PA, the US could show confidence in the new government, he said. 

    Washington provides about $75 million to Palestinians each year. Israel's annual aid, in comparison, is $3 billion.

    But the money for the Palestinians goes to nongovernmental organizations and contractors for essential projects such as water. In the process, it bypasses the PA.

    US non-committal

    The White House had no immediate comment on whether it was willing to provide aid directly to the finance ministry. 

    Funds flowed from Israel to the PA.  But, Tel Aviv halted the transfer of tax revenues to the PA after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, claiming it feared the money would go to fighters mounting attacks on Israelis.
       
    Under a recent deal brokered by Washington, transfers from Israel to the PA resumed. A US spokesman described the payments last week as a positive step by Israel towards addressing "the economic conditions of the Palestinian people”. 


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