AIDING THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
The United States will provide eighty-million dollars to the Palestinian Authority to help it reform its security forces. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed the Framework Agreement with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad [saah-LAM fah-YAHD] to promote law and order by strengthening and reforming the Palestinian security sector.
During a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [mah-MOOD ah-BAH-SS], Secretary of State Rice said the aid package will help the Palestinian government provide security and guarantee the rule of law.
"This allows us to give a quick infusion of funds to security reform here that is consistent with a broader international effort to reform and professionalize the Palestinian security forces," Secretary of State Rice told President Abbas. "Because. . .rule of law and security are at the core of being able to have functioning government."
The security assistance package will be used to enhance the capability of the Palestinian security sector, including through training. The assistance to be provided will help improve the Palestinian Authority's capacity to provide security for the Palestinian people and fight terrorism, build confidence between the parties, and ultimately help to meet the security needs of Palestinians and Israelis alike. In June, Hamas launched an armed uprising against the Palestinian Authority and violently seized power in the Gaza strip. President Abbas said Hamas's seizure of power in Gaza was "a coup against legitimacy."
The United States is providing other assistance to strengthen President Abbas's government and to help the Palestinian people, including one-hundred-ninety million dollars in humanitarian, civil society, infrastructure, and private sector assistance. The Middle East Investment Initiative is a new partnership between the Palestinian Authority's investment fund, the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the nonprofit Aspen Institute. It will provide more than two-hundred-million dollars for loans to Palestinians seeking to start up or expand businesses and will not require them to provide collateral. Such programs to bolster the Palestinian economy, coupled with increased security, can reduce support for extremist groups like Hamas.
"The American people," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "want to be a good and committed partner of the Palestinian people as we move to realize the vision of two states living side by side in peace and freedom."