The results of last week’s Palestinian legislative election have led some to challenge US aid to the Palestinian people. Because we understand that US funds do not go to the Palestinian Authority but instead provide development assistance…


The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

The results of last week’s Palestinian legislative election have led some to challenge US aid to the Palestinian people. Because we understand that US funds do not go to the Palestinian Authority but instead provide development assistance, humanitarian aid, and vital support for building democratic institutions in the West Bank and Gaza, we urge you to continue our foreign assistance program to the Palestinian people.

In his State of the Union address, President Bush said, “Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, and protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.” If we believe in promoting democracy in the Middle East, we must remain committed to building the institutions that support a democracy – rule of law, an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, and a free press. In fact, our aid programs do just that.

As you know, US foreign aid is disbursed to private contractors and nongovernmental organizations chosen and monitored by USAID who have signed the “Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing,” ensuring that US funds do not benefit individuals or groups identified by your department as terrorists. USAID programs strengthen Palestinian civil society, empowering moderates to affect change in their government. Withdrawal of US financial support as a punishment for the results of a democratic election it actively supported could cause a breakdown in civil society. This vacuum could lead to civil war or increased interference from regional players.

Our involvement on the Palestinian issue affects our county’s image throughout the Arab and Muslim world. USAID programs, which improve the daily lives of the Palestinian people through humanitarian aid, the empowerment of civil society, and fostering democratic institutions is a fundamental element of any successful public diplomacy strategy.

Finally, we believe that at this critical moment it is in our nation’s interest to support President Mahmoud Abbas and other moderates in Palestinian society. Abbas has reiterated his commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and, as President of the Palestinian Authority, retains veto power over any legislation that comes out of the PLC. A withdrawal of US funds could result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, essentially creating a “failed state” in the West Bank and Gaza.

The American people can be proud of programs administered through USAID and its partners. We urge you to continue US aid to the Palestinian people.


Dr. James Zogby


Arab American Institute

Hon. George Salem, Esq.


Arab American Institute


Dr. Ziad Asali


American Task Force on Palestine


Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS


Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation


Dr. Peter Gubser


American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)

Hon. Theodore Kattouf




Omar Kader

Chairman of the Board

Development Associates, PAL-TECH

The Reverend Canon Richard K. Toll

Chairman of the Board

Friends of Sabeel-North America


Ismael Ahmed

Executive Director

Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services

Michael Mufarreh


American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine


Makboula Yasin

Executive Director

United Palestinian Appeal

Dr. Edward A. Hazbun, PhD., MBA, PE


Bethlehem Association


Yusif Farsakh

National Board

Birzeit Society

Linda Sobeh

National President, ex-officio

Palestinian American Congress


Samiah Bahhur


El Bireh Palestine Society


Linda Butler


Institute for Palestine Studies, Washington Office


Steve Sosebee

President and CEO

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund

Salam Al-Marayati

Executive Director

Muslim Public Affairs Council


Ronald Goodman


American Diaspora Alliance for Israeli-Palestinian Peace


Samuel Halaby


American Diaspora Alliance for Israeli-Palestinian Peace


Nina Ghannam



Mitchell Plitnick

Director of Education and Policy

Jewish Voice for Peace


Neal Abid


Arab American Community Center

Orlando, Florida

Sally Al-Daher, MD, MPH

Executive Director

Arab Cultural and Community Center

San Francisco, California


Saed Moujtahed


Citizens for Americans Interests

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