US freezes Palestinian aid funding: report
The U.S. has reportedly suspended aid to the Palestinian Authority amid ongoing Middle East peace talks.
Israel-based i24 News reported Monday that the U.S. froze funding as part of the Taylor Force Act, which requires Palestinian officials to end payments to terrorist groups and take steps to stop those groups’ behavior.
The news outlet, citing a White House official and a Senate aide, also reported that certain Palestinian programs have been put on hold because the West Bank and Gaza offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have not received a budget for the coming year. USAID provides funding for foreign development projects.
An official with one of those programs told i24 News that the U.S. stopped transferring funds at the end of May.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian official said the U.S. told the Palestinian Authority earlier this year that it was re-examining its aid budget.
The report comes after White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told Arabic language newspaper Al Quds that the Trump administration’s plan to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians will be published soon.
Kushner expressed frustration with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and said the plan would go forward regardless of his participation.
“The global community is getting frustrated with Palestinian leadership and not seeing many actions that are constructive toward achieving peace,” he said, according to an Associated Press report of the interview.
“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage,” Kushner added. “If he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly.”
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