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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Palestinian Official Criticizes U.S. for Blocking Assistance

WASHINGTON -- At a conference on Arab-American relations in Morocco last month, Hassan Abdel Rahman, the chief Palestinian representative in Washington, was bluntly critical of Representative Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

Gilman is undermining Middle East peace by blocking release of $10 million in U.S. aid for salaries and administrative expenses of the Palestinian Authority, Abdel Rahman said, and Gilman "won't say why. He just says no."

In fact, Gilman has said why, many times. According to him, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have failed in multiple ways to comply with their agreements with Israel and should not expect any further U.S. economic assistance until they do.

The United States has been a major participant in an international effort led by the World Bank to stimulate economic development in territories formerly occupied by Israel and now under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. law prohibits aid to the PLO, but Congress authorized the president to waive that ban provided he certifies periodically that the Palestinians are doing what they promised to do: renounce terrorism, amend the portions of the PLO charter calling for the destruction of Israel and recognize Israel's right to exist. The Clinton administration has certified Palestinian compliance, as did the previous Labor government in Israel.

?In Jerusalem, The Associated Press reported that negotiators have solved most of the disputes standing in the way of a meeting between Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu, and an Israeli-Palestinian summit could be held by Wednesday, an Israeli official said.