Obama administration argues for PA aid


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration argued in Congress for continued funding for the Palestinian Authority.

"We are helping the PA to improve public services, increase the capacity of their justice sector, put in place critical infrastructure, and meet urgent humanitarian needs," Jacob Walles, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, said Tuesday in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee. "These activities are designed to help the PA to meet essential needs and to offer an alternative to those who reject a two-state solution and exploit human suffering to radicalize the population and recruit supporters."

A number of lawmakers have proposed cutting the approximately $500 million the Palestinian Authority receives annually from the United States as long as it seeks reconciliation with Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, and as long as it pursues recognition of statehood at the United Nations absent an agreement with Israel.

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