A series of amendments that would have severely penalized the Palestinian authority for its recent unilateral UN bid and any future action taken against Israel at the ICC were struck down Tuesday. The amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act were removed before a vote Tuesday night.
One of the amendments would have meant the immediate closure of the PLO’s office in Washington unless the Palestinians entered into peace negotiations with Israel, and would have also eliminated American assistance to the PA if the International Criminal Court “adjudicates any matter proposed or supported by the Palestinian Authority.”
This particular amendment had been introduced by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Nov. 29.
“The amendment was blocked but Senator Schumer will continue to press the issue in the Senate,” Marisa Kaufman, Senator Schumer’s Deputy Press Secretary, told The Algemeiner, though she failed to elaborate on who blocked it.
As for Senator Graham’s office, a spokeswoman told The Algemeiner only that “It wasn’t offered for procedural reasons.”
The Times of Israel reports that Capitol Hill observers familiar with the amendments said they were removed due to pressure from the White House, which is concerned that they would limit its options when dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the future.
“Any administration will oppose amendments that will limit their prerogatives,” a senior pro-Israel Capitol Hill source told the Times of Israel. The source did, however, note that the amendments were not necessarily dead.
“Any reports of its ultimate demise are premature,” the source said. “It can be attached to another piece of legislation down the road. Senate amendments can resurrect themselves in other forms.”