'The US has ended all financial aid for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, government officials have said.
The decision to cease is linked to new American legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said after the new laws came into effect earlier this week.
It will end of about $60m (£45m) in US aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces has helped maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.
The US Congress’s Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (Atca) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war”.
The Palestinian Authority declined further US funding over worries about its potential legal exposure, although it denies Israeli accusations it encourages militant attacks.
“At the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have wound down certain projects and programmes funded with assistance under the authorities specified in Atca in the West Bank and Gaza,” a US official said. “All USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased.”
It was unclear how long the cessation would be in effect. The official said no steps were currently being taken to close the USAID mission in the Palestinian territories, and no decision had been made about future staffing at the USAID mission in the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
USAID is the main agency administering US foreign assistance in the Palestinian territories.
The agency spent $268m (£203m) on public projects in the West Bank and Gaza as well as Palestinian private sector debt repayment in 2017, but there were significant cuts to all new funding through the end of June last year, according to its website.
“The suspension of aid to our people, which included critical sectors such as health and education, will have a negative impact on all, create a negative atmosphere, and increase instability," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesperson for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.'
Read more: US cuts all aid to Palestinians in occupied West Bank and Gaza
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