The Palestinian Authority told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo it will no longer accept American dollars in protest of a new Anti-Terrorism law.
The "Anti-Terrorism Cooperation Act" (ATCA), which was passed in October, gives American courts the legal authority to hold foreign governments accountable for acts of terrorism against US citizens as long as those governments receive aid from the US.
In practice, US victims of Palestinian terror can sue the PA for its involvement in terror activity and receive financial compensation with money that would have been given to the PA as financial aid.
The bill's sponsor, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), said in September the law is "a carefully balanced approach to better ensure victims' access to compensation and to hold supporters of terrorism accountable."
However, the PA sees it as an open door for numerous terror lawsuits and would rather reject US aid.
"The Government of Palestine respectfully informs the United States Government that, as of January 31st, 2019, it fully disclaims and no longer wishes to accept any form of assistance referenced in ATCA" PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in a letter obtained by National Public Radio.
"The Government of Palestine unambiguously makes the choice not to accept such assistance," he added.
I got a copy of the letter Palestinian PM @RamiHamdalla sent @SecPompeo renouncing US aid. Under a new anti-terror law, if the Palestinians take this money, it could force them to pay hundreds of millions of $ to compensate families of US victims of Palestinian attacks. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/TT9v5JmqOm
— Daniel Estrin (@DanielEstrin) January 18, 2019
Some claim the rejection of US aid could serve a major blow to security cooperation between the PA and Israel.
"Without US security aid, the PA will have fewer resources to operate," Jihad Harb, a Palestinian researcher and analyst, told The Times of Israel on Sunday. "It will also have less incentives to continue security cooperation with Israel."
"There is no doubt this development will harm the Israeli-Palestinian security relationship," he said.
Experts also warn a weakened Palestinian Authority will embolden Hamas to become an even greater threat to Israel's safety.
Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot urged the Israeli government last week to strengthen PA security forces in the West Bank, adding that they had recently stopped a Hamas terrorist there.
CBN News spoke with Pinhas Inbari, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He said while many Palestinians leaders do not want to have any security cooperation with Israel, PA president Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) knows he needs Israel to keep the West Bank from turning into Gaza.
"The PLO as an organization and Fatah (the PA) in particular are against any cooperation with Israel and they are making the Palestinian military that is cooperating with Israel [seem like] traitors. This makes coordination [with Israel] very difficult. But still they continue," Inbari said.
"Now, Abu Mazen understands that if he does not want his fate in Ramallah to be the same fate he faced in Gaza, he must have Israel in the West Bank. Israel in the West Bank is the pillar of security and stability. You take Israel out and everything collapses," he said.