Obama Waives Restriction on US Aid to Palestinian Authority

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in the White House. Photo by: Pete Souza

U.S. President Barack Obama is requesting the release of economic assistance for the Palestinian Authority, in what appears to be a move to ensure U.S. development presence in the region. This comes amid controversial plans by Fatah and Hamas to pursue a unity government.

The move comes as the two main political parties in the Palestinian territories continue to negotiate about forming a joint government in Gaza and the West Bank, and as Palestinian leaders continue their quest for statehood at the United Nations.

In a presidential memorandum released Aug. 30, Obama cites U.S. national security interests to waive an existing legal provision that restricts U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. Congress restricted aid to the Palestinian after the political movement Hamas won the elections in the Gaza Strip in 2007.

More recently, conservatives and Israel supporters in Congress have been calling for additional safeguards and cuts given renewed effort between the Hamas, which the U.S. classifies as a foreign terrorist organization, and Fatah, which governs the West Bank, to form a Palestinian unity government. Fatah and Hamas struck a reconciliation deal earlier this year.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.