Jul 4, 2011

Palestinians Looking to Replace U.S. Financial Aid

Aaron KleinBy Aaron Klein

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The Palestinian Authority is studying the possibility of relying on Arab money instead of regular financial aid from the U.S. and Europe should the Palestinians persist with their plan of unilaterally declaring a state at the United Nations in September.

Sources close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas told WND the Palestinian leader even is willing to give up his job as a result of backlash regarding his drive to declare a state at the U.N.

Abbas attends a joint meeting of the PLO executive committee and the Fatah central committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah June 26, 2011."Abu Mazen (Abbas) wants to go down in history as the one who led this U.N. process. He doesn't mind giving up his role in office, leaving his job as a consequence," said one PA official. PA officials told WND that at Abbas' behest, the PA leader's chief of staff, Mohammed Shtayyeh, established a committee to investigate the possibility of giving up financial aid from the U.S., European Union, and Russia as a result of the U.N. drive.

The officials said the immediate results of Shtayyeh's commission were not encouraging.

Revealed one official:

"The conclusion so far is not encouraging, but still we are studying the possibility of looking for independent and Arab money and other sources to replace U.S. and Western money if the PA faced sanctions."
Currently, the vast majority of all aid to the PA comes from the U.S. and EU. According to figures released by the PA, only 22 percent of the $530,000,000 received since the beginning of 2010 came from Arab donors.

The PA fears financial sanctions if it persists with its U.N. unilateral declaration plan.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution threatening to suspend financial assistance to the PA if its leaders "persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies."

The resolution called President Obama to veto a U.N. vote on unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

WND reported in April the Obama administration is concerned that support for a U.N. declaration of Palestinian statehood could have a negative impact on the president's 2012 re-election bid, according to a top PA official.

The official told WND that the White House in April asked the PA to take their U.N. state request directly to the international body's General Assembly, the only U.N. organ in which all member nations have equal representation, instead of to the Security Council, where the U.S. holds veto power.

Previously, PA officials stated the Obama administration would not veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a Palestinian state.

In 2009, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, told WND in an interview that the PA "reached an understanding with important elements within the administration" to possibly bring to the U.N. Security Council a resolution to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.

Asked to which "elements" he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.

Related Links
Abbas Dictates Terms to Quartet - Arutz Sheva
PA says it'll drop UN bid if Israel accepts 67 lines - Jerusalem Post
US bailout for Palestinian economy – only if Abbas drops UN plan - DEBKAfile
Cash crunch chops Palestinian Authority wages to half pay - Globe and Mail
Quartet to Meet Next Week on PA Statehood Bid - Arutz Sheva