Showing some spine, Congress blocks $200 million in aid to
Why reward Abbas for refusing to
negotiate and use the UN to end run the peace process?
The United States Congress has
blocked nearly $200m in aid for the Palestinians, threatening projects such as
food aid, health care, and support for efforts to build a functioning
The decision to delay the payments
runs counter to the wishes of the Obama administration and reflects
Congressional anger at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s so far unrealised
pursuit of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and statehood recognition at the UN.
The freezing of the funds, which were
to have been dispersed in the US fiscal year that ends today, is the most
tangible sign yet of the seriousness of Congressional leaders’ threats of an
even wider halt to funding in the coming year if Mr Abbas continues with his
actions at the UN. It was strongly condemned yesterday by the Palestinian
There have been persistent demands in
Congress to withhold up to $600m – the average amount given by the US in
bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza every year since 2008 – in the
next financial year over the issue.
The administration remains, as does
Congress, opposed to the Palestinians’ application for full UN membership, which
Mr Abbas submitted last week. But it argues that assistance to the Palestinian
people is what a US official described as “an essential part of the US
commitment to a secure future and two-state solution for Palestinians”.
Nonsense. What will secure a future
two state solution is Hamas and Fatah recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a
Jewish state within secure borders. Accepting anything short of that would be
suicide for Israel. If the US Congress can pressure the Palestinians to
recognize reality and negotiate in good faith on those terms, they would have
advanced the peace process.
Also, the fact that the Palestinians
passionately hate America makes it a little odd that they would object to the
cut off. I would have thought they would be dancing in the streets – just like
they did after the towers fell on 9/11.