US aid to security services will stop Friday

 US aid to Palestinian security services will be suspended on Friday at the request of Palestinians to avoid prosecution for terrorism, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday.

The Palestinian Authority asked to end the funding in January for fear of being sued under a new US anti-terrorism law known as ATCA, which will come into force on February 1.

"Money will stop," Erakat told AFP from the West Bank city of Ramallah. "We do not want to receive any money if it will cause us to appear before the courts."

The law passed by Congress last year states that any government receiving funding will be subject to US anti-terrorism laws.

The Palestinian Authority faces the possibility of bringing cases against it by the families of American victims of Palestinian attacks in the past.

The annual aid of $ 35 million aims to support the Palestinian security services in the occupied West Bank and cooperate closely with the Israeli security services against Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

According to media reports, Israeli officials expressed concern for the United States over the impact of cutting off funding for the Palestinian security services and encouraged them to find alternative ways of providing such funding.

However, Erekat denied that the Palestinian Authority is seeking to find a way to continue funding without the government's exposure to this law.

"We are not pursuing anything, the Americans have made their decision ... but we will continue to participate in the fight against terrorism in the region," he said.

He noted that the United States stopped hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians last year.

Israeli and US officials accuse the Palestinian Authority of encouraging violence by allocating salaries to families of prisoners or killed during the execution or attempted attacks against Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority says these funds contribute to improving the situation of families that have lost their breadwinner and deny their desire to encourage violence.


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