The United States has quietly unblocked almost $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority which had been frozen by Congress for months, a top US official said Friday.
The news that the funds had finally been freed up came after US President Barack Obama met top Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a landmark visit to Israel and the West Bank earlier this week.
“To date, we have moved $295.7 million in fiscal year 2012 money… and $200 million in fiscal year 2013 assistance,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
The Obama administration also notified Congress in late February that it was seeking a further $200 million to fund US Agency for International Development (USAID) programs for the Palestinians, she said. [...]
Congress froze the US administration’s requests for funds.
And Israel, which also strongly opposed the move, said it was suspending monthly transfers of the tax and tariff revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the wake of the decision.