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      Congress Frees 20% of Aid to the PA

      American lawmakers free $40 million in frozen economic and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/29/2011, 9:47 AM

      Capitol Hill - Congress
      Capitol Hill - Congress
      Capitol Hill

      American lawmakers have freed up a little more than 20 percent of $187 million in U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

      The assistance was frozen after the PA submitted its unilateral bid for United Nations membership.

      Members of Congress have made available $40 million in economic and humanitarian funding for the PA, the State Department said. The money is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development and “has been vital to establishing and strengthening the foundations necessary for a future Palestinian state,” according to the State Department’s statement.

      The Obama administration had been urging lawmakers to release the money, claiming it contributes to the PA's stability and to Israeli security.

      AP reported that the administration is now pressing Congress to release the remaining $147 million that comes from the last budget cycle in which aid to the PA was to total $545.7 million. The administration has asked Congress for $513.4 million in aid for the Palestinians in fiscal year 2012, the report said.

      According to a recently released proposal, the U.S. Congress would allow American economic aid to the PA to continue next year so long as the entity is not admitted as a state to any more United Nations organizations.