Posted on February 21, 2006 in Press Releases



WHERE: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C.

WHEN: Friday, February 17, 2006 at 2 p.m. ET

WHO: Dr. James Zogby, president, Arab American Institute (AAI), Dr. Ziad Asali, president, American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP), Dr. Peter Gubser, president, ANERA Washington, D.C.

For media inquiries please contact: Mira Browne at or 202-429-9210



WASHINGTON  At the conclusion of a summit of Arab American and humanitarian organizations, the Arab American Institute (AAI), the American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP) and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) will call on the Administration to reject pressure to suspend USAID funds to the Palestinians.

Nearly two dozen Arab and humanitarian aid organizations will attend Friday’s Summit on Palestine and send a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging the Administration to continue the foreign assistance program that is vital to the Palestinian people.

“This is not the time to walk away from the Palestinian people,” said AAI President Dr. James Zogby. “The notion that this money goes to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and will therefore benefit Hamas, is wrong. Funds go to U.S. and Palestinian private contractors and civil society institutions. Suspending this aid would do grave damage to Palestinian society and cause the U.S. to become even more isolated from Palestinian moderates.”

Dr. Peter Gubser, president of ANERA, an aid organization that helps people in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Jordan, said: “In these increasingly challenging times, the United States should remain fully engaged with the Palestinian people. It is in our national interest to do so as we seek a solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. And as the welfare of the Palestinian people continues to decline, we have a powerful humanitarian reason to maintain America’s substantial assistance program in the West Bank and Gaza.”

ATFP President Dr. Ziad Asali said: “Impoverishment and the affront to the dignity of the Palestinian people have been major causes of loss of hope and radicalization. As the political situation becomes more complicated, the last thing the Palestinians need is an economic crisis. Mindful of the objections for sending funds to the PA, we should explore ways to channel USAID money to designated projects and institutions that are thoroughly vetted and accountable. Humanitarian aid to the people can only enhance the standing of our country and our friends and it will be thee right and moral thing to do.”


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