What GAO Found
USAID obligated and expended most of the ESF assistance to the West Bank and Gaza appropriated for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. Of the total $789 million provided for West Bank and Gaza assistance over the 2 years, USAID had obligated 96 percent and expended 70 percent by the end of April 2012. USAID obligated about $410 million for 26 development projects and $350 million in budget support to the PA over the 2 fiscal years. USAID provided the most assistance to the water resources and infrastructure sector, about 56 percent of total project obligations.
Why GAO Did This Study
For decades, the United States has worked toward the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most recently under the 2003 Roadmap for Peace, which calls for an independent Palestinian state coexisting peacefully with the state of Israel. From fiscal years 2001 through 2009, the United States provided about $3 billion in bilateral and multilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, focused on further developing the Palestinian economic, social services, and civil society sectors and on strengthening the processes, governance, and security-providing capacity of Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions. Since June 2007, when Hamasa U.S.-designated terrorist organizationseized control of Gaza, the United States has directed most of its nonhumanitarian assistance to the West Bank.
For fiscal years 2010 and 2011, U.S. funding for the Economic Support Fund (ESF) portion of U.S. assistance to the West Bank and Gaza totaled almost $789 million. According to the Department of State (State), ESF promotes the economic and political foreign policy interests of the United States by providing assistance to allies and countries in transition to democracy, supporting Middle East peace negotiations, and financing economic stabilization programs. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is primarily responsible for administering ESF appropriations for the West Bank and Gaza. USAID officials said that fiscal years 2010 and 2011 ESF appropriations support, among other things, priority needs identified in the Palestinian National Authoritys National Development Plan 2011-2013, Establishing the State, Building Our Future and through consultations between PA and USAID officials.
For fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the Congress directed that the Comptroller General of the United States report to the Congress on U.S. assistance to the West Bank and Gaza provided through ESF. In response to these directives, this report (1) examines the status of USAIDs obligations and expenditures of the fiscal years 2010 and 2011 ESF appropriations for the West Bank and Gaza and (2) describes how the USAID mission is obligating the fiscal years 2010 and 2011 funds.
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