Al Arabiya Reports That Obama Admin Has Sent $500 Million to Palestinian Authority
Al Arabiya is a Saudi-owned television news channel launched in March 2003 the channel is based in Dubai. It claims to have conducted the first media interview of Barack Obama after he became President.
As I noted earlier this evening, Obama spoke last week under a banner of Yasser Arafat, "the father of modern terrorism." That move is being seen as a gaffe by the very few, almost none of whom are in the establishment press, who have even noticed it. What if it's not a gaffe, but rather an intentional move? That may be the case if what Al Arabiya reported on Friday, seen after the jump, is indeed true (HT Examiner.com):
U.S. quietly unblocks almost $500m in frozen funds for Palestinians
Following the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to the West Bank and Israel this week, the Palestinian Authority was granted access to almost $500 million that was frozen by U.S. Congress for months.
A top U.S. official said Friday that the frozen funds have been quietly unblocked after Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with top Palestinian and Israeli leaders during his visit this week.
Kerry has pushed for the funds to be released since taking up his post on Feb. 1.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the Obama Administration notified Congress late February that it was seeking a further $200 million to fund U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs for the Palestinians.
“To date, we have moved $295.7 million in fiscal year 2012 money... and $200 million in fiscal year 2013 assistance,” She added.
The first sum comprises some $195.7 million, allocated under the 2012 fiscal year budget for USAID economic, development and humanitarian assistance, as well as a further $100 million earmarked specifically for narcotics control.
The second sum of $200 million unblocked and available to the Palestinian Authority will come under the 2013 budget and be spent for direct budget support.
Earlier this month a report by the Palestinian Authority urged the world to step up financial aid and press Israel to allow economic development, warning of a “political collapse” due to Israeli fiscal strangulation.
Left unaddressed is how the Obama administration can legally and constitutionally unfreeze money frozen by Congress. But given the general lack of respect for separation of powers Team Obama has demonstrated since Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives in November 2010, maybe that's as easy as pressing the "send" button on the right computer.
If the Al Arabiya report is true, this could be the second time Obama has defied a congressional freeze. Obama did the same thing in April 2012, as Andrew McCarthy at National Review noted at the time. Again if the Al Arabiya report is true, or even partially true, it does raise a question a conscientious establishment press would be raising if someone other than Obama was occupying the White House: Is this being done out of humanitarian sympathy, or native proactive support of Palestinian statehood regardless of the kind of state it becomes?
As to the PA's "economic crisis," I doubt that "Israeli fiscal strangulation" has much to do with it. What person or company in their right mind would start or expand their business into a terrorist state?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.