WASHINGTON, April 28, 2012 (WAFA) – In a step seen as defiant of the strong pro-Israel United States Congress, President Barack Obama last week ordered release of over $190 million the Congress had previously frozen, according to reports from Washington.
Obama instructed his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to inform the Congress of his decision, describing it as in the national interest of the United States.
He said that transferring the money to the Palestinian Authority is essential to the security interests of the US.
Congress froze about $250 million in funds earmarked to the Palestinian Authority as part of annual US aid following steps by the Palestinians in September to get international recognition as a state and win membership in the United States.
However, Congress in November released $40 million of the money, which it said will go to support Palestinian security projects.
The US is strongly opposed to Palestinian efforts to win UN membership, describing their moves as unilateral steps, stressing that statehood comes only through direct negotiations with Israel.
However, the Palestinians held Israel responsible for the stalled talks, demanding that Israel should first stop its own unilateral actions in settlement activities on occupied Palestinian land before negotiations could be resumed.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in an apparent final effort to resurrect the peace talks, handed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a letter on April 17 setting the parameters for resuming peace talks, but at the same time threatening to resume efforts to win international recognition suspended since winning full membership in UNESCO in October if Netanyahu gave negative answers.