WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- President Obama, citing the United States' national security interests, Wednesday waived restrictions on funding for the Palestinian Authority.
In a memorandum sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama cited his authority under section 7040(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2012 section 7040(a) of the Act, to provide appropriated funds to the Palestinian Authority.
The president directed Clinton to inform Congress of his action.
State Department officials last month expressed concern the department had been unable to provide full funding to the Palestinian Authority for institution-building projects as the United States seeks to rejuvenate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., had questioned the Obama administration's request for $147 million for the Palestinian Authority at a time when P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded preconditions for returning to the negotiations while also pushing a unilateral statehouse plan at the United Nations. She also expressed concern that $26.4 million had been requested for projects in Hamas-run Gaza.
"The administration also says we need to help 'rebuild the Palestinian economy' -- this at a time when our economy is facing serious challenges and Americans are suffering," Ros-Lehtinen said.