23 Mar 2012 23:11
Source: reuters // Reuters
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON, March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Friday released $88.6 million in development aid for the Palestinians that they had held up since last summer, a move that should help ease a fiscal crisis in the aid-dependent Palestinian economy.
Representative Kay Granger announced she was ready for the entire $147 million in U.S. assistance that had been frozen since August to go to the Palestinians.
But the other Republican who had a "hold" on the funds, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, limited the release to $88.6 million, saying in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was all she was willing to free up.
Ros-Lehtinen also said she was releasing the money with the understanding it would not be used for "assistance and recovery in Hamas-controlled Gaza," West Bank road construction, or trade and tourism promotion in the Palestinian territories. The United States considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
The letter did not say how the freed-up funds would be spent, but Ros-Lehtinen suggested earlier this week she would be willing to approve money targeted for water programs, health and food for the Palestinians....READ MORE