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USAID Chief Open to Fixing Law That Closed Operations in the West Bank and Gaza

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US Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green addresses the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, 2018. Photo: Jackson Richman/JNS. – US Agency for International Development administrator Mark Green said last week that USAID is open to Congress amending the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which enabled last month’s cessation of the agency’s operations in the West Bank and Gaza.

“We welcome the chance to continue discussions with you on the future of West Bank/Gaza assistance,” said Green in a hearing at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.

“But as a result of the passage of that law, we’ve been directed by attorneys at the State Department and at USAID, and again, at the specific request of the Palestinian Authority, to cease assistance,” he continued.

The act, signed into law in October and scheduled to take effect in January, provides protections for American victims of international terrorism.

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The chairwoman of the subcommittee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), slammed the agency for stopping its operations in the Palestinian areas.

“In my judgement, this is a decision that doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “It reverses more than two decades of bipartisan support for humanitarian, economic and security assistance, and I have long argued that such funding with stringent conditions plays a critical role in improving the lives of Palestinians.”

Green told JNS in December, “We have strict guidelines on who we work with, and that’s simply not just what we do, but across the US government.”

Without elaborating, he continued: “[There] are guidelines that we follow. We follow administration policy.”

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