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USAID to stop sending money to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza


The U.S. government announced on Friday that USAID would be ending its assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Here's what we know

Reuters reports that the eliminated funding will include $60 million that the U.S. was giving to the Palestinian security forces.

According to the Times of Israel, the funding for the Palestinian security forces will end at the request of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority was reportedly concerned that this funding would open up lawsuits under the United States Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA). The ATCA goes into effect on Friday, and gives Americans the authority to sue U.S. aid recipients who are complicit in "acts of war."

"The money will be cut off," senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told Agence France-Presse. "We don't want to receive any money if this will take us to court."

The Palestinian Liberation Organization is a group in charge of the Palestinian people in the West Bank. It does this through the Palestinian Authority, a governing body that it created.

"At the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have wound down certain projects and programs funded with assistance under the authorities specified in ATCA in the West Bank and Gaza," an unnamed U.S. official confirmed to Reuters. "All USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased."

However, Reuters noted that USAID still had a mission located in Palestinian-controlled territory, and there was no indication that this mission would be closed.

How much assistance are we talking about?

According to USAID's website, in 2017 the agency granted $267,536,349 to the West Bank and Gaza. Last year, $146,575,484 in grants were reported, but data for that year is still incomplete.

Looking at just disbursements, over the most recently recorded 10-year period (2008 - 2017) USAID reported grants of $3,797,822,285 to the West Bank and Gaza.

In August, the Trump administration announced that after a review to ensure that funds were being "spent in accordance with U.S. national interests," it was cutting $200 million "originally planned for programs in the West bank and Gaza."

The administration also announced in September that it was closing the main office for the PLO in Washington, D.C.

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