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Congressmen Want Account of Palestinian Aid

Two Democrats in Congress want the body’s investigative arm to look into how U.S. funds are spent by the Palestine Investment Fund.

Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) wrote to the General Accounting Office this week, asking it to consider reports that the Palestinian Authority plans to use PIF money to fund homes for prisoners released last month in exchanged for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas for more than five years.

“Many of the released prisoners were convicted of orchestrating and carrying out Hamas-sponsored terrorist attacks in Israel, including the bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 21 people, the attack on a Netanya hotel that killed 29 people, and the bombing of a Sbarro Pizzeria that killed 15 people,” said the letter, noting that U.S. agencies have contributed $243 million to the PIF’s Affordable Mortgage and Loan program.

The letter also asks the GAO to establish whether U.S. funds have been used by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on his quest to achieve international recognition of Palestinian statehood in the absence of negotiations with Israel.

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