US security aid for the Palestinian Authority is set to dry up today after it declined the money over concerns it could increase its exposure to US anti-terrorism lawsuits.
The loss of the some $60 million in annual funding would marks another tear in ties between the Trump administration and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and potentially undermines his security cooperation with Israel in the occupied West Bank.
Diplomatic sources said Palestinian, US and Israeli officials were seeking a way to keep the money flowing despite Abbas's decision to turn it down as of a January 31 deadline set by Congress' Anti-Terrorism Clarifcation Act (ATCA) of 2018.
The ATCA empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in U.S. courts over alleged complicity in "acts of war".
Abbas's administration, long accused by Israel of stoking Palestinian militant attacks, worries about such legal exposure. It denies encouraging any such acts.
"We do not want to receive financial aid, including aid provided to the security forces, so as not to be subject to the anti-terrorism law approved by Congress," one Palestinian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"The US administration was surprised by the Palestinian decision, and said it wanted to find a solution in order to continue aid to the Palestinian security services."
Such a solution may include finding alternative funds within the CIA budget or amending US legislation, he said.