US Gives $148M to Palestinian Authority

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Obama administration signed a $148 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority Sunday to avert a budget crisis and promote the peace process.

President Obama cited "national security interests" as the reason for his decision in a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry authorizing him to issue a waiver on restriction of funds.

It's not the first time Obama ordered a waiver of congressional restrictions to provide the P.A. with U.S. aid.

An administration official told the Jerusalem Post the funds had a twofold purpose: "to help the Palestinian Authority avert a budget crisis and to support U.S. efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"Direct budget support to the P.A. is the most immediate and efficient means of helping the P.A. maintain and build the foundations of a viable, peaceful Palestinian state," he reportedly said.

Budget crises are not new by any means to the Palestinian Authority, which has always counted on foreign aid to subsist. 

Last May in Amman, Kerry announced a $4 billion investment plan in Palestinian business initiatives as he worked to bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority to renew direct negotiations.

Kerry's announcement followed separate meetings with P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and lead Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy.

Israel was required to release 104 Palestinian terrorists, most convicted of murdering Jews or Palestinian collaborators ostensibly to help get the current round of peace talks off the ground.

Some analysts believe the Palestinians were also offered financial inducements from the U.S. to return to the negotiating table.

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