Palestinians wait to board a bus to travel to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, on Jan 29, 2019. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
All USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased
The decision was linked to a Jan 31 deadline set by new US legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.
The deadline also sees the end of some US$60 million in US aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.
Congress' Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in "acts of war". The Palestinians have declined further US funding, worried about legal jeopardy.
"At the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have wound down certain projects and programs funded with assistance under the authorities specified in ATCA in the West Bank and Gaza, a US official told Reuters on Friday.
"All USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased."
The official said no steps were being taken to close the USAID mission in the Palestinian territories, and no decision had been made about future staffing at the USAID mission in the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
HONG KONG NEWS