The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been governed by a unity coalition formed by political groups Hamas and Fatah since June 2014. Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. Consequently, Hamas’ inclusion in the coalition government puts the PA in danger of not receiving aid from the U.S. for democratic reforms, humanitarian services, and economic development.
Current law says that no aid is allowed for PA governments exposed to “undue influence” from Hamas, and Hamas is explicitly prevented from receiving aid. It is unclear whether the Fatah-Hamas unity government will cause a change in this policy going forward.
Under current law there is a presidential waiver that can be used against the ban if providing aid to the PA enhances U.S. national security. The waiver can also be used if the Secretary of State ensures that the PA is properly administering the funds.
It's unclear if the Obama administration will continue to use this waiver to provide aid to the PA. If S.2265 is enacted, that waiver would be eliminated, taking the decision out of the President’s hands.
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National Review(Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces)