Bush Signs Waiver Permitting Aid to Palestinians
(December 8, 2004)
The Bush administration announced December 8, 2004, that it would provide $23.5 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority to help conduct elections, establish security, meet its payrolls and upgrade infrastructure in Gaza. Traditionally, aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been distributed through intermediaries because of the PA’s history of corruption and ties to terrorism. This is the first direct payment to the PA since August 2003, when the administration, trying to encourage talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, gave $20 million. A State Department spokesman said the money would be subject to “very stringent and proven transparency and accountability provisions.”
The announcement was made at an international donors' conference in Oslo. William J. Burns, assistant secretary of state for Middle East affairs, said the aid reflected American confidence in the PA’s efforts to reform its finances and security services in the weeks since the death of Yasser Arafat.
Memorandum for the Secretary of State
SUBJECT: Waiver of Restrictions on Providing Funds to the Palestinian Authority
Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including section 552(b) of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2004 (Div. D, Public Law 108-199) (the "Act"), as carried forward under Public Law 108-309, as amended, I hereby certify that it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of section 552(a) of the Act, as carried forward, in order to provide funds appropriated to carry out chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of l961 to the Ministry of Finance of the Palestinian Authority for budget support.
You are authorized and directed to transmit this determination to the Congress, accompanied by a report in accordance with section 552(d) of the Act, and to publish the determination in the Federal Register.
Source: The White House; JTA, New York Times, (December 9, 2004)