The US Congress freeze on aid to Palestine has been criticized by US and Palestinian officials. The freeze on $200m aid which focuses on infrastructure and development programs was imposed following Palestinian authorities decision to go ahead with its bid for permanent membership in the UN assembly. Other projects including an $85m five-year plan to improve Palestinian health services is also in jeopardy. However training for Palestine security offices is not affected by the sanction.
The decision has been criticized by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who said the US administration “opposes withholding those funds”. State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the money was not “only in the interests of the Palestinians, it’s in US interests… we would like to see it go forward.”
Palestinian legislative council member Mustafa Barghouti, Mahmoud also expressed disappointment in the Congress’s decision and warned Palestinians would not “sell freedom for some aid”.