Photo Credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90
Saeb Erekat

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat on Saturday attacked the White House decision to cut more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. “This is flagrant declaration that the real aim of US aid is to interfere in the internal affairs of other peoples and affect their national rights,” Erekat said in a statement.

Erekat added that the decision to cut aid “is a sign that [Washington] has abandoned its international obligations,” insisting that “the Palestinian people reject any conditional aid.”

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A senior State Department official said on Friday that the US is cutting more than $200 million in aid to the PA, following a review initiated by President Donald Trump. The official said in a statement that the funds originally intended for the PA and the Gaza Strip will instead be used for “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

The official explained that “at the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza, to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer.”

“As a result of that review, at the direction of the President, we will redirect more than $200 million in FY2017 (fiscal year 2017) Economic Support Funds originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza,” the official added.

The Palestinian Authority this year rejected calls from the Trump administration to return to the negotiating table, suggesting the US has lost its status as an honest broker in the peace negotiations with Israel.

Erekat negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel and remained chief negotiator from 1995 until May 2003, at which point he resigned in protest from the PA government. He reconciled shortly thereafter and was re-appointed to the post.

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