U.S. Should Continue Providing Aid To Palestinians, Opinion Piece Says

NPR: Opinion: Here’s Why U.S. Aid To Palestinians Needs To Continue
Dana Stroul, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Daniel B. Shapiro, visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv

“Is U.S. assistance to the Palestinians an indulgence we can do without? Will its elimination leave Israelis, Palestinians, and U.S. interests better off? Unless Congress and the Trump administration act quickly, we are about to find out. … [F]unding for Palestinian assistance programs has always flowed with bipartisan support because it was determined to reinforce Israel’s security and provide a measure of U.S. leverage and influence. … Walking away from ongoing USAID projects in the West Bank and Gaza — unfinished roads, incomplete water projects, and piecemeal humanitarian and education programs — is a total waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Such visible reminders of U.S. abandonment will also inflame local sentiment against the United States. Congress should authorize and explicitly appropriate funds to complete these projects, following a thorough review of the status of U.S. programs in the West Bank and Gaza. … Members of Congress naturally seek Israel’s views on the security and economic consequences of completely shutting down U.S. assistance programs to the Palestinians. But during the Trump administration, the answers have been murky. After Israel’s election in April, Congress should urgently seek a clear picture of the new government’s views, as members continue to vote on this much-debated set of issues” (1/31).