Friday, October 07, 2011

Report: USAID halts operations in PalArab territory

Al Quds al Arabi reports that USAID has suspended all of its projects in the Palestinian Arab territories.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee had halted some $200 million in funds for the Palestinian Arabs, it was reported earlier this week, and these were USAID funds.

Some projects have halted already, some can run for a few weeks before running out of money. According to a PA official quoted in the article, the projects that are affected include "roads, water, health and other projects related to state building."

He also said that the White House is exerting efforts to lift the ban but there is no timeframe for such a decision

Some 50 Arab employees have already been asked not to work, and a couple of hundred more will lose their jobs by November.

USAID money to the territories is earmarked for governance, rule of law, civil society, health, education, social services, economic development and humanitarian assistance.

US funds that goes directly to the Palestinian Authority has not been affected.

In the Arab world, especially in Egypt, there have been recent protests against USAID, with people charging that it is a spy agency. Egypt has recently rejected USAID funds because of conditions saying, among other things, that they cannot be used for terrorism.