The 24 Americans living in Israel who had sued the State Department over U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority have filed their opposition brief to the government’s motion to dismiss,” Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) said Wednesday
The plaintiffs allege that aid money to the PA is not being carefully scrutinized nor administered and funds terrorism. The lawsuit was originally filed last November, and attorneys for the American government filed a motion to dismiss their claims.
The plaintiffs contend that the State Department has recklessly ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements which govern U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. The Americans, some of whom are victims of terror themselves, allege that as a result of White House non-compliance with federal regulations, funds have been flowing to terror groups like Hamas despite federal prohibitions against support for terrorism.
The government claims that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring this civil action and that the case raises “political questions” best left to the other branches of government. The plaintiffs in turn argue that enforcing limitations on federal foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority against State Department abuses is the judiciary’s job and that suit is far from being an “abuse of discretion,” as the defendants contend.
Shurat HaDin stated, “The government also contends that it is pure speculation that Americans can be injured by terrorism in Israel….”
It is estimated that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the United States State Department, via USAID has given more than $4 billion to the Palestinian Authority. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the State Department is required to certify that the Palestinian government is committed to a peaceful co-existence with Israel before distributing funds, and ensure that no part of funding is used for terrorism.