United States Congress has blocked nearly $200 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority, threatening projects such as food aid, health care, and support for efforts to build a state, The Independent reported Saturday.
The decision to freeze the funds runs counter to the wishes of the Obama administration and reflects Congressional anger at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who defied US wishes by taking his UN membership bid
to the Security Council.
According to the British newspaper, the freezing of the funds, which were to have been provided in the US fiscal year that ends Saturday, is the most tangible sign yet of the seriousness of Congressional leaders' threats
of an even wider halt to funding in the coming year if Abbas continues with his actions at the UN.
Republicans at Congress recently demanded to withhold up to $600 million from the Palestinians – the average amount given by the US every year since 2008 – in the next financial year over the PA bid. The US has already announced it will veto any Security Council resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
The Obama administration argues that assistance to the Palestinians is "an essential part of the US commitment to a secure future and two-state solution for Palestinians".
Former US President Bill Clinton
warned legislators last month to leave the issue of aid to the administration, saying: "Everybody knows the US Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world. They don't have to demonstrate that."