In an article published on FoxNews.com on Monday, the Palestinians are singled out for receiving aid from the United States during a time of sequestration, ignoring both the benefits of aiding the Palestinian people and the multitude of other countries the U.S. provided foreign assistance to.
At issue is the Obama administration decision to release $500 million of aid to the Palestinians, a decision Fox seems to take umbrage with given the continuing effects of sequestration. Fox goes on to list several departments and agencies under the knife thanks to sequestration, before pointing out once more the Palestinians’ relative largess in tough fiscal times:
Attorney General Eric Holder also said in a memo that he was using his “limited authorities” to shift around funds and give the Bureau of Prisons $150 million to avoid furloughing correctional workers at federal prisons. This, he said, would have created “serious threats to the lives and safety of our staff, inmates and the public.”
But he said he was still “evaluating” whether his department can avoid other furloughs.
Foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority alone, though, easily eclipses the amount Holder used to spare the correctional workers division.
Despite making the claim that lawmakers have “heavily scrutinized a number of foreign aid transactions,” the article only lists aid to the Palestinian people as being worthy of judgement in the current fiscal climate. But American foreign aid to over one hundred other countries somehow manages to go utterly overlooked.
The Center for American Progress has an interactive map that shows just how much aid flows to which countries and for what purposes, highlighting both the large amount that goes towards helping people as well as those funds devoted towards military spending. As just a small example, Poland managed to go unmentioned by Fox after receiving $39 million in foreign military financing during Fiscal Year 2011.
Congress attempted to block the amount paid to Ramallah — after previously appropriating the amount to the State Department — due to the successful Palestinian push for an upgraded status at the United Nations. President Obama overrode that decision, signing a waiver based on the clear national security interests served through providing the promised assistance.
According to the State Department, the Fiscal Year 2012 spending released includes $195.7 million is for economic, development and humanitarian assistance, with the other $100 million budgeted for narcotics control. The $200 million from Fiscal Year 2013 will go directly towards supporting the Palestinian Authority’s budget, a needed boost for the beleaguered government of President Mahmoud Abbas. All of this will help the Palestinian Authority end a budget crunch, helping stabilize a government seeking to move forward peace negotiations with Israel, an investment that Fox shouldn’t overlook.