It’s too bad they can’t get the whole $1.5 billion back, but this is a good sign. It’s also too bad that they didn’t ask for this $50 million back right after it was given, when sermons carried on the official Palestinian media called for terror attacks against American soldiers. Still, better late than never. From Reuters, with thanks to Poboy:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has asked the Palestinian Authority to return $50 million in U.S. aid because Washington does not want a Hamas-led government to have the funds, the State Department said on Friday.
The money was demanded as part of a full review of all U.S. aid for the Palestinians that began soon after the militant group Hamas’ surprise victory in elections last month. A Hamas-led parliament was set to be sworn in on Saturday but it could take several weeks for a Cabinet to be formed.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the caretaker government of President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to return the money, given last year for infrastructure projects after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.
“In the interests of seeing that these funds not potentially make their way into the coffers of a future Palestinian government (made up of Hamas) … we have asked for it to be returned and the Palestinian Authority has agreed,” McCormack told reporters.
A Palestinian official confirmed Washington had asked for $50 million in aid to be returned. “The Palestinian Authority promised to comply,” the official said.
Over the past decade, the United States has given about $1.5 billion in aid to the Palestinians, mostly through aid groups.