U.S. Department of State officials have urged Arab governments to resume their assistance to the Palestinian Authority and warned members of the U.S. Congress about possible consequences if the donor country’s aid to the Palestinian territories is cut.
“We will be discussing this with them [Arab states] again and urging them to at least meet the levels [of aid] that they have provided in past years so that the Palestinian Authority can continue to function,” Jacob Walles, the deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, told the House foreign affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, as quoted by Reuters.
The Palestinian Authority is facing a budget shortfall as some of its donors are reportedly holding back their contributions because of Palestinian leaders’ planned push for statehood at the United Nations, which the United States also opposes. U.S. legislators have also previously called for a suspension of U.S. aid for Palestinian territories following a reconciliation deal between the ruling Fatah political party and Hamas militant group.
>> Fatah, Hamas Reconcile: How Will the Deal Affect Foreign Aid to Palestinian Territories?
At the foreign affairs subcommittee hearing on Tuesday (July 12), Walles also defended the need for continued U.S. aid to the Palestinians, stressing that it is crucial to maintaining peace in the Middle East.
“Our assistance to the Palestinian people is an important building block of our efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that will allow all people there - Israelis, Palestinians and others - to live their lives in peace, in dignity and in security,” Walles said, according to The Associated Press.
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