“War is deceit,” said Muhammad.
“PA claims it got no US aid in 2016. In fact, State Dept. gave Palestinians $357 million. And that’s not all,” by Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, December 16, 2016:
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah claimed last week that his government has received no aid from Washington in 2016, accusing the US of imposing a “financial siege” on the Palestinians. But the State Department has in fact provided Ramallah with over $357 million in financial assistance in the past year, according to information given to The Times of Israel by a US State Department official on Thursday.
Additionally, in 2016 alone, the US contributed $355,177,827 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA), of which $95 million was earmarked for the West Bank and Gaza. UNWRA also operates Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
In total, therefore, the US gave around $712 million in aid to Palestinians in 2016, and is the world’s largest supplier of such aid.
Hamdallah told the official PA radio station the Voice of Palestine on December 8 that his government has not seen any of the aid money approved by the US in 2016. He described this as part of a “financial siege” on the Palestinian government. That allegation against the US of failure to pay, according to figures and explanations received by The Times of Israel, is a cynically skewed misrepresentation of the reality.
“Since last year, there is a financial siege on the Palestinian government… For example, let’s speak frankly, the US approved $263 million in 2016 as aid to the government. Look, 2016 is about to end, no shekel or agora, or dinar or dollar has been paid, if we speak frankly. We hope that this aid money will be paid,” he said, according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.
Hamdallah then listed and praised countries that he said have given aid to the PA in 2016, and excluded the US.
“The countries that have given their aid, and we always thank them, are the European Union, which always [gives] consistently and according to what is expected. When we plan the budget we know that the EU will pay. We thank Saudi Arabia, as President [Abbas] said at the Seventh Fatah Conference, and we thank Algeria. These are the countries that actually support our budget,” Hamdallah said.
The largest amount of money given to the PA annually from Washington is channeled through the USAID program.
In 2015, the State Department allotted $290 million to the Palestinians through USAID. This money formed the major part of the overall total of $357 million given to the Palestinians in 2016, and was dispensed after congressional approval. That one year delay between the allotment of aid from the USAID program and the actual transfer of the money to the Palestinians has been in place for over a decade.
The sum of $263 million which Hamdallah said the US approved in 2016 but claimed it has not given, therefore, was presumably a reference to the sum allotted by the State Department for payment in 2017, pending congressional approval. In fact, the actual sum Congress is being asked to approve for dispensation in 2017 is $261 million….