(FOX NEWS) -- The Palestinian Authority is doling out millions of dollars in cash grants to convicted terrorists recently released from Israeli prisons in a program announced the same day as the P.A. accepted $148 million in the latest round of U.S. aid.
The authority announced Aug. 18 it would disburse $15 million in so-called “Dignified Life Grants” to more than 5,000 prisoners who had served more than five years in Israeli lockups, but had been recently released as a show of good faith by the Jewish state to bolster the Middle East peace process, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
The announcement came on the same day the State Department’s Michael Ratney, consulate general of the U.S. in Jerusalem, signed off on $148 million in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, currently in the throes of a budget crisis.
Although the U.S. funnels about $400 million per year in aid to the authority, none of the money, by law, is supposed to go to terrorists or former terrorists. Critics say there is no way to separate money from U.S. taxpayers and the funds which go to the former prisoners.
“We have a lot of funding that goes to the PA that is fungible and co-mingled and there is a lot of concern the money is going to radical causes and extremist issues,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the bipartisan think tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracy, told FoxNews.com.
“There are many problematic questions concerning the way the Palestinian Authority disperses funds and especially those coming from the U.S. This is not unique. We’ve seen in the past, monies allocated from the PA’s budget to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is a designated terrorist organization, and all of this points to a troubling trend whereby the U.S. has tried to get a handle on financing within the P.A.” Continue reading via Fox News...