Washington : Palestinian Authority accuses Congress of holding back aid to punish Mahmoud Abbas' bid for UN statehood.
The US Congress blocked $200m in aid in response to President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for UN statehood to collective punishment the Palestinian people.
The funds, intended for food aid, health care, and infrastructure projects, were supposed to have been transferred within the US financial year, which ends today.
The decision to freeze the payments was reportedly made by three congressional committees on 18 August, before Abbas' planned bid for statehood recognition at the UN the following month. The Obama administration is reportedly negotiating with congressional leaders to unlock the aid.
Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib told the Independent, "It is another kind of collective punishment which is going to harm the needs of the public without making any positive contribution, It is ironic to be punished for going to the United Nations."
USAid has already started scaling back its aid operations in the West Bank and Gaza, and there are fears it may be forced to end all humanitarian work and distribution of financial support to the Palestinian Authority by January.
Former president Bill Clinton recently warned Congress to leave the issue of aid to the Obama administration.
He said: "Everybody knows the US Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world. They don't have to demonstrate that."