Episcopal Church joins calls for fix to US law that cut Palestinian aid

Palestinian security forces guard outside a hospital in Ramallah, West Bank, in May 2018. (photo: Reuters)
The law cuts cuts $200 million in direct aid to Palestine and all aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

By David Paulsen | Episcopal News Service | Feb 25, 2019

‘The Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act has resulted in the total cessation of aid to Palestinians, with devastating consequences for the Palestinians most in need of humanitarian assistance. This legislation also harms the security of Israel.’
— Rebecca Blachly, director of The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations

The Episcopal Church — raising concerns reportedly shared by officials within the Trump administration and Israeli government — is joining a chorus of voices calling for an emergency update to a new US law that has halted aid to Palestinian security forces.

Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the law, the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, in October as a way to help victims of terrorism, but when the law took effect Feb 1, the Palestinian Authority was forced to refuse $60 million in US aid or else open itself up to exponentially larger financial liability through potential American lawsuits.

The US State Department is now working on a fix to the law that will “maintain security cooperation on one hand and also justice to the families of the victims of terror,” an unnamed Israeli official told the Washington Post. The Israel-based news outlet Haaretz described the Trump administration in December as “scrambling” to find a solution. . . .

The office’s Episcopal Public Policy Network also issued an alert recently, asking members to contact their elected officials. “We must urge Congress to find a solution so that the Palestinian people can continue to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance,” the alert said.

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