Washington DC, April 12 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today welcomed the announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the United States would be releasing a $147 million package in aid to the Palestinian people. The move overrides some remaining congressional holds on the US aid package to the Palestinians for fiscal year 2011 economic support.
An unnamed administration official told the National Journal that this aid is "critical support to the Palestinian people and those leaders seeking to combat extremism within their society and build a more stable future. Without funding, our programs risk cancellation. Such an occurrence would undermine the progress that has been made in recent years in building Palestinian institutions and improving stability, security, and economic prospects, which benefits Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
The administration move also comes in the context of a new statement by the Middle East Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- that calls on donors to fulfill aid pledges to the Palestinians and "underscored the need for continued international support for the Palestinian Authority’s important institution-building efforts." The statement calls on the parties "to examine possible mechanisms it can actively support going forward, individually and together, to advance peace efforts and strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people both now and in a future state." Crucially, the statement calls for “[facilitating] the social and economic development of Area C, which is of critical importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state.”
ATFP Pres. Ziad J. Asali said, “We strongly welcome this move by Sec. Clinton to release these vital funds to support the PA institution-building program’s civil and security components. We also urge other donors to fulfill their pledges to the PA. This is in the interests of the United States, the international community, the Palestinian people and Israel, and should not be subject to partisan calculations. International support is vital for preserving and enhancing the gains achieved by the institution-building program led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and preserving the ability of Palestinian security services to ensure law and order and prevent violence. We are gratified that the Quartet has clearly recognized that Palestinian access to Area C is vital for the development of a viable Palestinian state and to help to lay the groundwork for a two-state solution."