Biden admin warned about potential dangers of restarting aid to Palestinians
- October 11, 2023
Michael Lee, Fox News
State Department officials warned as early as 2021 that sending U.S. aid to areas controlled by Palestinian groups could serve to benefit Iran-supported terrorist groups such as Hamas.
A March 2021 internal State Department document that was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon earlier this year and verified by Fox News Digital shows officials privately communicating their concerns that a Biden administration plan to unfreeze over $360 million in U.S. funds for the Palestinian Authority could risk benefiting terror groups, a trade-off the officials argued was necessary for national security.
“We assess there is a high risk Hamas could potentially derive indirect, unintentional benefit from U.S. assistance to Gaza. There is less but still, some risk U.S. assistance would benefit other designated groups,” the State Department wrote in the document. “Notwithstanding this risk, State believes it is in our national security interest to provide assistance in the West Bank and Gaza to support the foreign policy objectives.”
The document, a draft sanctions exemption request that was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, asks the Treasury Department to exempt the administration from laws designed to prevent the U.S. government from sending money to territories controlled by Palestinian terror groups. The $360 million in funds were frozen under the administration of former President Donald Trump, which cut the Palestinian Authority off from access to the money as a result of its support for terrorist organizations.