The Palestinians will receive $88.6 million in U.S. developmental aid, more than half the assistance that has been on hold for six months, after top House Republicans dropped their opposition.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, said Friday she would allow all of the $147 million to flow, arguing that peace and stability were critical in the Palestinian territories amid the overall unrest in the Middle East. But Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the State Department saying she would not allow more than $88.6 million and would keep her hold on the remaining $58.6 million.
In a sharply worded letter, Ros-Lehtinen made clear that the legislative branch has the power to expend funds _ and stop them in midcourse.
She said the money could be spent with the understanding that they are not used for assistance and recovery in Hamas-controlled Gaza; road construction projects in the West Bank, except if directly related to security and projects with permits from Israel in other areas; and trade facilitation, tourism promotion, scholarships for Palestinian students and other aid for the Palestinian Authority agencies and ministries.