The Obama administration is seeking another $200 million to aid the Palestinians in the 2012 fiscal year, State Department officials said on Friday.
But many Americans are uneasy about giving money to a group that has a history of embezzling millions—perhaps billions—of foreign aid cash; or worse, they use the money to purchase missiles, rockets, mortar rounds and other conventional weapons.
“We are working with the Congress to ensure continued U.S. support for the Palestinians, including 200 million dollars in direct budget support this fiscal year,” the department said in response to the U.S. news media.
Last year, Washington gave the same amount of direct budget support to the Palestinian National Authority, which is claiming it’s facing the worst financial crisis in years with a deficit of about $1.1 billion in its current budget.
“Our view remains that our assistance to the Palestinian people is an essential part of the U.S. commitment to a negotiated two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis, promoting a comprehensive peace in the Middle East,” the State Department said.
“It is in the interest not only of the Palestinians, but of Israel and the U.S. as well, to ensure these efforts continue as they help to build a more democratic, stable and secure region,” said the State Department press office on Friday.
When Obama administration announced proudly its new military assistance as he signed a bill in the Oval Office expanding military and civilian cooperation with Israel, it was quickly discovered to be about one-third of the money appropriated for the Palestinian National Authority. The Israeli gift received widespread news coverage by the Obama-compliant news media, but the Palestinian money was either ignored or mentioned in the back pages of newspapers and newsmagazines, according to an Israeli police officer who is a Law Enforcement Examiner source.
Obama administration officials, especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are still attempting to reopen bi-lateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians living in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Negotiations broke off in September 2010.
However, the Obama request for more money for the Palestinians was a tough sell with conservative lawmakers especially in the House of Representatives, according to a Middle East advisor who requested anonymity. So, President Barack Obama simply bypassed Congress and sign a “waiver.”
“There is a history of corruption and stolen money with foreign aid given to the Palestinian leaders,” he said.
He points to a recent case in Ramallah where the so-called financial adviser to the late Yasser Arafat, Mohamad Rashid, is being sought on suspicion he stole millions of dollars while Arafat was the Palestinian leader.
When Yasser Arafat and Fatah were in control of the budge they stole hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid that were earmarked for food and medicine for the Palestinian people.
In addition to the financial aid, the U.S. is “quietly” providing security assistance to the Palestinians by providing weapons and training to their police officers.
“This scenario is like something out of a Peter Sellers comedy: The U.S. provides Israel with weapons and military equipment and at the same time the Americans give the Palestinians money, training and guns?” quipped counterterrorism expert Claude Demeur.
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He’s formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, a columnist for Examiner.com, a contributor to KGAB radio news, and news director for NewswithViews.com.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter’s University and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
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