Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority reluctantly declines the $60 million US security aid out of fear that accepting the money would open the PA up to an avalanche of lawsuits under the 2018 Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act.
By Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
U.S. security aid for the Palestinian Authority was set to dry up on Thursday after the PA declined the money over concerns it could increase its exposure to U.S. anti-terrorism lawsuits.
The loss of the nearly $60 million in annual funding marks another tear in ties between the Trump administration and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and potentially undermines his security cooperation with Israel in Judea and Samaria.
Diplomatic sources said Palestinian, U.S. and Israeli officials were seeking a way to keep the money flowing despite Abbas’ decision to turn it down as of a Jan. 31 deadline set by Congress’ Anti-Terrorism Clarifcation Act (ATCA) of 2018.
The ATCA empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in U.S. courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war.”
Abbas’ administration, long accused by Israel of stoking Palestinian terrorist attacks, worries about such legal exposure. It denies encouraging any such acts.
“We do not want to receive financial aid, including aid provided to the security forces, so as not to be subject to the anti-terrorism law approved by Congress,” one Palestinian official told Reuters.
“The U.S. administration was surprised by the Palestinian decision, and said it wanted to find a solution in order to continue aid to the Palestinian security services.”
Such a solution may include finding alternative funds within the CIA budget or amending U.S. legislation, he said.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel had no immediate comment. Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny there were workaround talks but sought to offer reassurance that Israel could manage security in Judea and Samaria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may also be disinclined to signal worries about the region ahead of his bid to stay in office in the April 9 Knesset election.
“Israel cannot save the failing leadership of the Palestinian Authority,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Reshet Channel 13 TV when asked about the cut in U.S. funding.
“The most we can do is say to them, ‘since this is our land, if you cannot govern, then we can,” Hotovely added.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: