Reporters Doubt U.S. Claim It Does Not Arm PA
(IsraelNN.com) Reporters covering the State Department expressed doubt to spokesman Tom Casey's remarks Tuesday that the United States does not arm or encourage arming the Palestinian Authority (PA). He called "absurd" a Vanity Fair magazine report that the Bush Administration hatched a plan by which the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) would attack and vanquish the rival Hamas terrorist party. The magazine directly quoted sources who said that the Hamas military takeover of Gaza last June was a preventative coup in advance of an American-backed Fatah military initiative.
One reporter pointed out that the U.S. financially backs Fatah military and security institutions that have fought Hamas. Another journalist said that Congress forbids giving "lethal aid" to the PA but asked Saudi Arabia to arm Fatah. Casey responded, "I can't guarantee you there was never a conversation like that. What I can say is we have made it a very open and transparent issue that we wanted to work on behalf of the government of President Abbas and work for him and with him to be able to strengthen the legitimate institutions of the state and work with those institutions that were willing to be a partner for peace. To, you know, call that policy a covert plan is just--sorry, it doesn't pass the reality test."
Bush Overrides Congress, Will Transfer Cash to PA
(IsraelNN.com) US President George W. Bush announced Tuesday that he would override a congressional ban and transfer $150 million to the Palestinian Authority.
The United States has committed more than $500 million in aid money to the PA for 2008, but concerns about terrorism and corruption have caused Congress to ban direct money transfers to the Authority. Bush spokesmen said it is "crucial" to shore up PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and to prevent the financial collapse of the PA.