The United States has worked for decades to achieve a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through initiatives such as the 1993 Oslo Accords and the more recent 2003 Roadmap for Peace. During fiscal years 1993 through 2005, the United States provided more than $2 billion in assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, including nearly $275 million in fiscal year 2005, to help achieve this goal. In particular, the 2005 assistance was provided to support the president of the Palestinian Authority, elected in January 2005, and to facilitate the Israeli disengagement from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, among other things. This assistance, primarily administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has been directed mainly toward five development sectors: economic growth, water and infrastructure, democracy and governance, health, and higher education. In recent years, the United States has taken several steps to help ensure that U.S. resources, including its aid to the West Bank and Gaza, do not support terrorist activities. On September 23, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order prohibiting the support of any organization or individuals that have been designated as terrorists. Since 2001, to implement the executive order and other antiterrorism provisions in various subsequent appropriations acts, USAID, in consultation with the Department of State, Congress, and others, developed a number of provisions to help ensure that its assistance is not delivered to or through terrorists. In addition, the USAID mission for the West Bank and Gaza (the mission) developed policies and procedures to implement antiterrorism provisions for the awards it administers. The provisions that were in effect for assistance delivered through contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements active in 2005 included (1) the vetting of certain non-U.S. prime awardees and subawardees for terrorist connections; (2) certifications by all prime awardees and subawardees of grants and cooperative agreements that they have not assisted and do not assist terrorists; and (3) a clause in all awards and related subawards prohibiting the support of terrorists (antiterrorism clause) and clauses in all prime awards prohibiting (a) the use of U.S. funds to recognize or honor terrorists (naming clause) and (b) the provision of cash to the Palestinian Authority (cash clause). Responding to a 2005 mandate to the Comptroller General of the United States, we examined fiscal year 2005 assistance to the West Bank and Gaza to, among other things, ensure that the required antiterrorism measures were implemented. In addition, we reviewed the financial audit reports of West Bank and Gaza contractors and grantees (and significant subcontractors and subgrantees) prepared by the USAID Office of the Regional Inspector General-Cairo (RIG) in response to a 2003 mandate and subsequent mandates. Among other things, the audits examined the awardees' compliance with antiterrorism provisions. To address these objectives, we reviewed the relevant laws and executive orders and USAID's directives, internal memorandums, operating procedures, and guidance for assistance-related antiterrorism measures. We focused on USAID's implementation of procedures related to vetting and antiterrorism certification and clauses.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|U.S. Agency for International Development||To help ensure that U.S. assistance to West Bank and Gaza does not support terrorist activity, the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator should direct the mission to consider (1) verifying the identifying data it collects for vetting, such as date of birth, by requiring Israeli identification cards or some other form of identification and (2) rescinding its decision to eliminate periodic revetting of awardees.|
|U.S. Agency for International Development||To help ensure that U.S. assistance to West Bank and Gaza does not support terrorist activity, the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator should direct the mission to ensure that the mission's vetting management database promotes data reliability, satisfies technical documentation requirements, and meets all applicable security requirements.|
|U.S. Agency for International Development||To help ensure that U.S. assistance to West Bank and Gaza does not support terrorist activity, the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator should direct the mission to ensure that the cash clause is included in all subawards before they are initiated.|
|U.S. Agency for International Development||To help ensure that U.S. assistance to West Bank and Gaza does not support terrorist activity, the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator should direct the mission to develop policies and procedures that address how each antiterrorism provision applies to consulting agreements, letters of understanding, memorandums of understanding, and purchase orders.|
|U.S. Agency for International Development||The Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator and the West Bank and Gaza mission should, in cooperation with USAID's Office of the Regional Inspector General-Cairo, develop a review and reporting system other than USAID's financial audits to help ensure that the requirements for vetting, certifications, and clauses for each award and applicable subawards are met before the financial agreements are implemented. This system should also ensure that the reviews (1) reflect applicable West Bank and Gaza mission policies and procedures for vetting, certification, and clauses at the time of the awards; and (2) have a clear and consistent audit methodology for examining subawards.|