Biden Admin Spends $250 Million on Palestinians; Claims Payments Legal Despite Anti-terror Law

US Vice Presicent Joe Biden (R) and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas following a meeting at the presidential compound in the city of Ramallah, in the West Bank, on March 9, 2016

The Biden administration announced $250 million in spending Wednesday on the Palestinians, despite a 2018 law that prevents U.S. taxpayer dollars from supporting the Palestinian Authority while it pays stipends and pensions to terrorists and their families.

The State Department’s announcement follows weeks of speculation about a “quiet” effort to restart funding for the Palestinians — despite the urgent needs of the American public during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:

In a statement Wednesday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced that, “working with Congress,” the administration would spend $75 million on “economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza,” $10 million on “peacebuilding” through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as $150 million on the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a special relief organization for Palestinian “refugees”and their descendants. The U.S. has also spent $15 million on humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians, bringing the total in U.S. spending on the Palestinians to $250 million.

In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law, which prevents the U.S. from providing economic support and other funding to the Palestinian Authority while it continues to pay the families of deceased terrorists, or to pay terrorists in Israeli prisons — a policy referred to by critics as “pay-for-slay.” The Palestinian leadership, having refused to end the payments, lost U.S. funding. Trump also cut funding to the UNRWA because of concerns that it has supported terror. The Taylor Force Act allows for a limited set of humanitarian exemptions, such as funding for vaccination programs.

Blinken claimed that “All assistance will be provided consistent with U.S. law,” but did not explain how the funding would comply with the Taylor Force Act. He also did not provide any evidence of reforms within the Palestinian Authority or UNRWA, nor did he mention any Palestinian effort to discourage terror or to stop incitement against Israel or Jews.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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