U.S. Congress Urges End To Financial Aid To Palestinian Authority
News
July 15, 2011

 


It’s almost unanimous!


 


 


 


 


 


In an almost unanimous bipartisan resolution, the U.S. Congress is urging President Barack Obama to cease U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to the unity government agreement signed by Mahmoud Abbas’ extremist, anti-peace Fatah-controlled PA and the ‘kill every Jew’ Hamas terrorist movement. Hamas, which has murdered hundreds of Israelis in scores of suicide bombings and thousands of other assaults, calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the worldwide murder of Jews. A 2006 law conditions aid to the PA on its recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing terrorism against Israel and agreeing to abide by past agreements. The urging from Congress about discontinuing U.S. aid to the PA follow an almost unanimous Congressional resolution last week urging the Obama Administration to consider suspending aid to the PA in light of the agreement between the Fatah/PA and Hamas, which passed by acclamation in the Senate and by a vote of 407-6 in the House.


 


The resolution was led in Senate by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and in the House by Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). The six House Members who voted against the resolution were Justin Amash (R-MI), Walter Jones (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Nick Rahall (D-WV). Twelve Members of congress also refused to support the call to stop aid by voting ‘present’ – Andre Carson (D-IN); Donna Edwards (D-MD); Keith Ellison (D-MN); Barbara Lee (D-CA); Betty McCollum (D-MN); Jim McDermott (D-WA); Gwen Moore (D-WI); James Moran (D-VA); Chellie Pingree (D-ME); Pete Stark (D-CA); Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). Since the mid-1990s, the United States has provided a total of more than $4 billion in US aid to the Palestinians.  In recent years the aid has increased to $600M per year.


 


The Obama Administration is opposed to cutting aid to the PA, despite the PA’s failure to fulfill its commitments under signed Oslo agreements to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder that permeates the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. The PA has also refused to negotiate with Israel and has violated its commitment under Oslo to negotiate all outstanding issues with Israel by seeking a unilateral declaration of statehood at the United Nations later this year. Also, in a New York Times op-ed piece in May, the PA’s Abbas stated that, after achieving statehood via the UN, the PA would seek to pursue its war on Israel through the UN, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.


 


Despite this, senior Obama Administration officials are insisting that U.S. aid to the PA – some $550 million requested this year – is critical to peace and stability in the Mideast and to boosting Palestinian security forces and the economy. Jacob Walles, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on July 12 that, “Our assistance to the Palestinian people is an important building block of our efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that will allow all people there — Israelis, Palestinians and others — to live their lives in peace, in dignity and in security.”


 


Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), chairman of the subcommittee, questioned the Obama Administration’s assertion that U.S. assistance provides “strong leverage” with the PA when it has reached a signed unity agreement with Hamas, continued to pursue U.N. recognition and refused to commit to new peace talks with Israel. “Is it that our assistance hasn’t given us leverage in this regard or that we haven’t really used it? …The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act requires the Palestinian Authority to stop incitement and recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist if it wants to keep receiving U.S. assistance. Given the Palestinian Authority’s record and given U.S. law, how can we justify continued assistance?”


 


Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, stated, “I would suggest to the Palestinian Authority leadership that when you get into a cage with a tiger, you’re not a partner; you’re a lunch … As a matter of both law and basic decency, we will never do business with or provide aid to a government controlled by or reporting to terrorists.”


 


Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) said, “Surely, you all can understand how that is troubling to people in Congress that we — and frankly, I think, to the citizens of this country — that we continue to provide substantial aid and we feel like we are not getting cooperation … That is the situation that I think a lot of us feel cannot continue and, at some point, we’re going to have to just say, you know, if you guys are not going to cooperate, we’re going to have to cut the aid off.”


 


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is clear that this is a bipartisan issue when almost every Republican and Democrat opposes the continuation of U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to the PA because of its unity government agreement with Hamas, its continuing refusal to negotiate with Israel and its violation of the Oslo accords by seeking a unilateral declaration of statehood at the United Nations. Indeed, it would be a national disgrace if aid to the PA – something that in any event should not have been occurring because of the PA’s actions – continues now that Fatah and Hamas have signed a unity government agreement.”

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