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Hundreds of Millions to Hamas

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State Department envoy David Welch told Palestinian officials yesterday that the US Will Continue Sending Palestinians Aid.

RAMALLAH, West Bank Feb 25, 2006 (AP)— The United States will continue sending humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people even after a Hamas government is formed, a senior U.S. envoy told Palestinian leaders during the first high-level meeting between the two sides since Hamas’ election victory.

State Department envoy David Welch said the U.S. continues “to be devoted to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people and we shall remain so.”

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Welch told Palestinian officials that U.S. aid would be redirected, but Welch did not specify how.

Erekat noted that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid flow directly into infrastructure projects every year, and not into Palestinian government coffers.

“We urged the U.S. administration to continue helping the Palestinian people, as it did in previous years,” Erekat said after the meeting. “They have never transferred a single dollar to the Palestinian Authority directly. The money was being transferred via non-governmental organizations.”

UPDATE at 2/26/06 9:58:15 am:

Funneling the money through NGOs is exactly what Jimmy Carter wanted to happen, after his meeting with the Hamas PR firm: lgf: Jimmah: Give Hamas a Chance.

“If there are prohibitions — like, for instance, in the United States, against giving any money to a government that is controlled by Hamas — then the United States could channel the same amount of money to the Palestinian people through the United Nations, through the refugee fund, through UNICEF, things of that kind,” Carter said.

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