Monday, May 07, 2007

Bush (and other's) Bucks

Did you know that...

Since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993, the U.S. government has committed an estimated $1.9 billion in bilateral economic assistance to the Palestinians. According to annual foreign operations legislation, congressionally
approved funds for the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot be given directly to the PA
unless the President submits a waiver to Congress stating that doing so is in the interest of national security.

To date, the United States has provided direct assistance to the PA on four occasions. In 1993-1994, the United States provided $36 million through the
Holst Fund at the World Bank for direct assistance to the PA and an additional $5 million in cash and equipment for the Palestinian police. From 1995-2002, no U.S. aid went to the PA or any of its constituent bodies. On July 8, 2003, the Bush Administration announced that it would provide $20 million out of a $50 million FY2003 supplemental appropriations as direct aid to the PA for infrastructure projects.

On December 8, 2004, President Bush again approved $20 million in direct assistance to the PA to pay off overdue Palestinian utility bills to Israeli companies. In a fourth instance, following PA President Abbas’s May 2005 visit to the White House, President Bush transferred an additional $50 million from unobligated Economic Support Funds (ESF) funds to the PA, but that transfer was ultimately rescinded after the formation of the Hamas-led government in March 2006 and the PA returned $45 million of the $50 million.

and that

In FY2005, the Bush Administration and Congress significantly increased U.S. economic aid through supplemental appropriations and by reprogramming economic aid that had been appropriated in previous years. As noted above, President Bush also used his authority to provide $50 million in direct assistance to the PA, but this transfer was subsequently rescinded.

In FY2006, Congress appropriated $150 million for USAID’s West Bank and Gaza
program. Following the formation of the Hamas-led government, some of this funding
was suspended and, along with funds appropriated in prior years, was then reprogrammed and delivered through international organizations and NGOs using programs with no connection to the PA government.

During FY2006, the United States obligated $264 million3 in humanitarian relief and other assistance to the Palestinians. For FY2007, P.L. 110-5, the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007, provides up to $50 million for USAID’s West Bank and Gaza program. However, specific allocations are still to be determined.

And it gets "better":-

Since the early 1990s, a small amount of U.S. aid has at times been directed to support the creation, training, and supplying of Palestinian security forces. In 1994 and 1995, as these forces were being formed, the United States provided a one-time $5 million cash payment for salaries of Palestinian policemen and two shipments of surplus military trucks, spare parts, boots, and blankets. In the late 1990s, there were unconfirmed press reports of CIA counterterrorism and intelligence collection training for Palestinian security officers.

In February 2005, the Administration named Lieutenant General William Ward U.S. security coordinator for Gaza to support Israel’s forthcoming withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and areas of the northern West Bank. Following the pullout, the Administration provided $2.3 million in non-lethal assistance to the Palestinian security services and police to facilitate their assumption of security responsibilities in these areas.

In late 2006, the State Department notified Congress of the President’s intent to
reprogram up to $86 million in prior-year funding to support efforts to reform and
rehabilitate Palestinian civil security forces loyal to President Abbas. However, the
House Appropriations Committee placed a hold on these funds, seeking more information
on where and why the money was to be spent. After the Palestinians reached agreement
on the Fatah-Hamas power sharing arrangement, other Members of Congress reportedly
expressed further doubts, fearing the money may end up with Hamas.

In March 2007, Secretary Rice told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the Administration was now seeking $59 million for Abbas, $43 million for training and non-lethal assistance to the Palestinian Presidential Guard and $16 million for improvements at the Karni crossing, the main terminal for goods moving in and out of Gaza. No holds were placed on this request.


So, er, just who is funding terror?

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