More than $500 million of American tax money will be pumped into a Palestinian infrastructure project that the Obama administration officially launched after the New Year, new federal documents reveal.
The sudden surge of lavish spending followed 10 months of inactivity in the introduction of new U.S. assistance initiatives in the West Bank and Gaza, accelerating right after the Democrats lost the presidential election.
The initiative comes at a time when the outgoing administration has come under fire for failing to reject a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel, followed by Secretary of State John Kerry’s defense of that inaction by proclaiming that “Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic.”
Those anti-Israel actions also prompted the launch of a movement in the United States to stop funding the U.N., leave it entirely and expel it from American land.
Notable among Obama’s new Palestinian contracting actions is the Building Foundations Program, an initiative to build or improve Gaza and West Bank transportation networks and water, solid-waste and electric-power infrastructure.
The plan entails the creation of governmental buildings and other facilities, such as sports complexes “designed to benefit the public interest.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, on Jan. 5 specifically touted Obama’s devotion to the Palestinians when it released details of the endeavor.
“USAID is fulfilling President Obama’s promise to the Palestinian people by working to overcome the many challenges that Palestinians face every day,” according to Solicitation No. SOL-294-17-000002, which WND discovered via routine database research.
Sign the petition to encourage President-elect Donald J. Trump and the Republican Congress to use all available means to encourage allies of the United States and Israel to withdraw from the United Nations and withhold all funding and official recognition from that organization.
“USAID is an essential element of the U.S. government’s support for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The Building Foundations contract is the latest evidence of American commitment to the Palestinian people,” the government said.
Indeed, the U.S. since the Bill Clinton administration has provided about $4.7 billion in congressionally approved aid to the Palestinians.
The agency, which is now soliciting bids from contractors to carry out the targeted infrastructure advancements, also is exploring the launch of several separate endeavors to help the Palestinian Authority, or PA.
The other projects include a training initiative for PA security forces, in addition to a vaguely worded endeavor to deliver 165 “ocean containers” to the PA in Jericho.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, or INL, recently issued a call for bids from contractors capable of helping the U.S. government train PA security organizations.
While the provision of security assistance is not new, the endeavor seeks to bring about “a longer-term institutional development focus.”
According to the program Statement of Work, or SOW, the emphasis will be on “maintaining and sustaining PA capabilities to provide security,” beginning with a one-year contract from July 30, 2017, to July 29, 2018.
“Additional four (4) one year option periods may be exercised based on continued availability of funding and INL’s desire to continue this program,” according to the SOW.
INL will work with the United States Security Coordinator, or USSC, a Department of Defense team, in coordinating the action, which focuses on personnel support at facilities in the West Bank and in Jordan.
PA Security Forces receiving U.S. assistance include the National Security Forces, Palestinian Civil Police, Presidential Guard, Civil Defense, the Preventive Security Organization and also the Ministry of Interior.
The selected contractor will provide training mentors, or TMs, language assistants such as interpreters and translators, plus subject-matter experts.
The TMs specifically will be deployed to the Jordan International Police Training Center and the Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah II Academy of Civil Protection.
USSC’s goal is ensure the PA eventually possesses “professional and self-sustaining security institutions, accountable to and under legitimate civilian authority, that effectively combat terrorism and criminal threats to law and order.”
The team also seeks to give PA the ability to “perpetuate an environment of security and stability for the Palestinian people, are able to provide for the national security of a future Palestinian State, and serve as a stable and peaceful neighbor to the State of Israel.”
Though it revealed that the containers could be delivered to the PA’s Central Training Institute, State disclosed little else besides size and other technical requirements. As this document is a “sources sought notice” and not a solicitation, the government is under no commitment to procure the containers.
USAID also anticipates releasing a Request for Proposals in February that would hire contractors to support the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The ministry would receive assistance to “enhance learning outcomes for Palestinian children at the primary level by improving Arabic reading instruction.”