Bush authorizes transfer of aid

President Bush waived congressional restrictions last week in order to transfer $150 million directly to the Palestinian Authority.

The transfer is part of a package of more than $500 million in Palestinian assistance earmarked for use this year. Most of the money will be funneled through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency and nongovernmental organizations.

Such transfers are subject to relatively light congressional oversight. However, Congress in recent years has banned direct transfers of cash because of fears that the money could end up in terrorist hands and because of concerns about Palestinian Authority corruption. Much of the pro-Israel community also strongly opposes direct transfers. — jta