Palestinian officials are calling restrictions placed on the spending of $200 million aid , approved by the US House of Representatives on Thursday, a ‘huge slap in the face,’.

The aid money will not be channeled through the Palestinian Authority, but through American aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) and philanthropic groups.

Edward Abington, the former American consulate in Jerusalem, who currently serve as a consultant to the Palestinian Authority, said Friday ‘the Palestinians will see this as a vote of no confidence in Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas).’

Abington expressed surprise that the U.S. now has more stringent aid restrictions on Abbas than former leader Yasser Arafat.

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Bush requested $200m. in aid for the PA.

The measure, however, sets aside $150 million for Palestinians and the remaining $50 million to Israel, for construction of a crossing facility for Palestinians to travel from Gaza into Israel.