President Obama on Friday afternoon ordered another waiver of congressional restrictions on direct funding of the Palestinian Authority, clearing the way for more U.S. aid.
In the one-page order, Mr. Obama said he was taking the action due to the “national security interests” of the U.S. The move comes as the administration is preparing to host renewed direct talks in Washington between Palestinians and Israelis for the first time since 2010.
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The president in March directed about $500 million to be sent to the Palestinian Authority, also waiving the restrictions set by Congress. At the time, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said he was seeking to move another $200 million to the Palestinians.
Some lawmakers oppose the aid, both because of sequestration budget cuts and the Palestinian Authority’s ties to the terrorist organization Hamas.
An administration official said the president will send $148 million to the Palestinian Authority, calling it “the most immediate and efficient means of helping the PA maintain and build the foundations of a viable, peaceful Palestinian state.”