All USAID assistance in West Bank, Gaza has ceased – US official

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ended all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. The decision was linked to a January 31 deadline set by new US legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits. The deadline also sees the end of some $60 million in US aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative peace in the West Bank. Congress’ Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war.” The US official told Reuters on Friday that “at the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have wound down certain projects and programs funded with assistance under the authorities specified in ATCA in the West Bank and Gaza.” No steps were taken to close the USAID mission in the Palestinian territories.