PALESTINIAN Push For Statehood Jeopardizes Millions Of Dollars In U.S. Aid – Fox News
Palestinian Push for Statehood Jeopardizes Millions of Dollars in U.S. Aid
Published September 19, 2011 | Associated Press
The Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas have repeatedly been warned: Pursue statehood recognition at the United Nations and risk losing millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
For months, congressional Republicans and Democrats have threatened to cut off some $500 million in economic and security assistance to the Palestinians if they defy the United States and Israel by seeking statehood. The Americans and Israelis prefer negotiations between the sides leading to a two-state solution. Congress’ forceful message has been delivered in letters to Abbas, through overwhelming bipartisan votes on resolutions and in fierce rhetoric.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, is greeted by Hanan Ashrawi, left, legislator and activist, as he arrives at his hotel in New York, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, to attend the 66th General Assembly session of United Nations, which begins Tuesday, Sept. 20.
“Current and future aid will be jeopardized if you abandon direct negotiations and continue your efforts,” Reps. Kay Granger, Republican chairwoman of the House Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, and Nita Lowey, the panel’s top Democrat, wrote to Abbas this summer, echoing a plea they made to the Palestinian leader in an April letter.
Now, faced with Abbas’ pronouncement that he will ask the U.N. Security Council on Friday to back his statehood bid, angry lawmakers may exercise power the one way Congress can — by withholding Palestinian aid.
“The United States will reconsider its assistance program for the Palestinian Authority and other aspects of U.S.-Palestinian relations if they choose to pursue such a unilateral effort,” 58 House Democrats said in a letter to European leaders imploring them to vote against Palestinian statehood and stand with the United States.