Advancing Liberty through Action

Congress Reports on Aid to Palestinians

The Trump Administration has taken several steps to reduce U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization. Its effective purpose of is reduce the PA’s sponsorship of terrorism while persuading the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization to resume diplomatic contacts with the United States’ and Israeli governments to motivate future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Bilateral assistance to the Palestinians since 1994 has totaled more than $5 billion, and has been a key part of U.S. policy to encourage an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, improve life for West Bank and Gaza residents, and strengthen the West Bank-based PA as an alternative to Hamas in Gaza.

The 2018 changes include: Reallocating that $231.532 million of 2017 bilateral economic assistance that was originally intended for the West Bank and Gaza for other purposes. Ending U.S. contributions to UNRWA. U.S. funding in 2018 totaled $65 million, contrasted with $359.3 million in 2017.

Nonlethal U.S. security assistance for the PA security forces has continued, as has PA security coordination with Israel, but a majority of Palestinians support recent PLO recommendations to end the coordination.

The Trump Administration's actions also have stimulated conversation on how cuts in U.S. bilateral and multilateral assistance will affect U.S. political leverage with the Palestinians, and whether other countries will step in to replace U.S. funding and- potentially-U.S. influence.

In the following remarks during a September 6 phone call with American Jewish leaders, President Trump suggested that the decision was tied to the PLO's unwillingness to negotiate under U.S. auspices: "I stopped massive amounts of money that we were paying to the Palestinians and the Palestinian leaders."

Accordingly, the United States will intensify dialogue with the United Nations, host governments, and international stakeholders about new models and new approaches, which may include direct bilateral assistance from the United States and other partners, that can provide Palestinians with a more dependable path towards meaningful contribution to the county of Israel as a whole.

Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority has rejected the repeated attempts by the Trump Administration to bring the Palestinian Authority to the table to deal, in a lasting manner, with the tensions felt within Israel between Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority has gone a step further and now challenging the long-lasting security cooperation required by the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

A September poll of Palestinians indicated that 68% favor ending security coordination with Israel.

A key reason for the US suspension of funding to the Palestinian governing authorities is the PLO/PA makes payments to some Palestinians (and/or their families) imprisoned for or accused of terrorism by Israel. Because money is fungible, and the United States’ implementation of the Taylor Force Act (TFA) demonstrates the understanding that any aid directly benefitting the PA could indirectly support such payments

A March 2018 media article stated that Palestinians acknowledge some payments go to people who make "heinous attacks" or their families.

As TFA is implemented, in the next six years the Administration must submit an annual report to Congress providing estimates of PLO/PA terrorism-related payments, along with information related to the Palestinian legal basis for the payments and to U.S. efforts toward the goal of ending the pay to slaysystem.

In 2017-2018 the Trump Administration has taken several steps to decrease U.S. funding for the governing bodies in the Palestinian territories. The goal is to reduce the PA’s sponsorship of terrorism and ensure that Israel has a trustworthy negotiation companion in the region or at a minimum resume peace-talks which would benefit all inhabitants of Israel alike.