Friday night news dump: Obama bypasses Congress, funds Palestinian Authority
posted at 4:26 pm on April 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Isn’t it funny what you can find out on Friday evening about what our executive branch does? For instance, Agence France-Presse reported last night that Barack Obama bypassed Congress to send $192 million to the Palestinian Authority, claiming that national security required the US to put money into Mahmoud Abbas’ pocket:
President Barack Obama has signed a waiver to remove curbs on funding to the Palestinian Authority, declaring the aid to be “important to the security interests of the United States.”
A $192 million aid package was frozen by the US Congress after the Palestinians moved to gain statehood at the United Nations last September.
But in a memo sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, published by the White House, the president said it was appropriate to release funds to the authority, which administers the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In signing the waiver, Obama instructed Clinton to inform Congress of the move, on the grounds that “waiving such prohibition is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
Congress deliberately froze those funds, and not just because of the statehood demand through UNESCO. Hamas, a terrorist organization, reconciled with Fatah and has rejoined the PA, which means we’re putting almost $200 million into the hands of a terrorist organization. The language of the Palestinian Accountability Act could not be clearer: “[N]o funds available to any United States Government department or agency … may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.” Obama literally waived that statutory language off yesterday afternoon.
The Times of Israel reported on the official White House explanation of why Obama did so:
The AFP news agency quoted White House spokesman Tommy Vietor as saying the $192 million aid package would be devoted to “ensuring the continued viability of the moderate PA government under the leadership of [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.”
Vietor added that the PA had fulfilled its major obligations, such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and accepting the Road Map for Peace.
Have they? They certainly haven’t done so since Hamas rejoined the PA in February. Hamas has refused to change its charter to recognize Israel or renounce violence, and certainly they have rejected the Road Map for Peace, which has been lying dead for years thanks to the PA’s refusal to seriously implement it. When Hamas broadcasts its recognition of Israel in Arabic — something that the PA has never done, to my knowledge — then perhaps the Obama administration’s claims can be taken seriously.
Andy McCarthy calls this a “triple play,” and slams this claim by Vietor as fantasy:
In the real world, the very immoderate PA has reneged on all its commitments. In addition to violating its obligations by unilaterally declaring statehood, the PA has also agreed to form a unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization that is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The PA continues to endorse terrorism against Israel as “resistance.” Moreover, the PA most certainly does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Back in November, for example, Adil Sadeq, a PA official writing in the official PA daily,Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, declared that Israelis
“have a common mistake, or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist…”
In sum, everything Obama is saying about Palestinian compliance is a lie. Even if we were not broke, we should not be giving the PA a dime. To borrow money so we can give it to them is truly nuts.
The White House knows it, too — which is why we only found out through the Friday night news dump.