President Obama has overridden Congress to lift the U.S. ban on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, saying it is “important to the security interests of the United States.”
The lifting of the ban means, among other things, that a $192 million aid package that was frozen after the Palestinian Authority tried to circumvent the United States and achieve statehood through the UN will now be delivered.
Times of Israel explains:
The unilateral statehood gambit was strongly opposed by Israel, which said Abbas was seeking to avoid negotiating the necessary compromises and modalities of statehood with Israel. The US indicated it would veto a resolution in the Security Council seeking unilateral recognition of “Palestine,” but the issue has not come to a vote, because the Palestinians were unable to obtain sufficient support in the Security Council. They may yet seek a non-binding endorsement of statehood in the UN General Assembly.
Section 3 of Congress’s Palestinian Accountability Act, which applies to 2012, stipulates that “no funds available to any United States Government department or agency … may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.” Obama has now signed a waiver, however, the White House said Friday, and asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to inform Congress accordingly.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor reportedly explained that the funds are aimed at “ensuring the continued viability of the moderate PA government” under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
However, skeptics note that much of the Middle East was deemed as “promising” and “moderate” before the “Arab Spring,” but is in danger of becoming far more tyrannical.