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July 11, 2011 10:17 am

US Threatens Sanctions Against PA

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U.S. House Committee on Financial Services meeting.

With talk of a Palestinian attempt to bring its case for statehood directly to the United Nations, questions about such an attempt have been raised in the halls of governments around the globe.  The PA’s statement that it would unilaterally declare itself an independent state has challenged international diplomacy.

Key to the success or failure of this effort is the response of the United States. Any question about that position should be clearly answered by the directives contained in the recently passed H.R.268.  Introduced May 13, 2011, the bill states that U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be restricted “should (PA) leaders continue to evade direct negotiations with Israel and seek statehood at the United Nations.”  The House resolution calls on the President to “consider suspending American financial assistance to the PA as a result of its reconciliation with Hamas.

Introduced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the Bill had 320 cosponsors upon its arrival to the floor.  The final vote was close to unanimous: H. Res. 268 passed by an extraordinary vote of 407-6.  The legislation now goes to Committee” where it will be integrated with the parallel Senate (S. Res. 185), introduced by Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Robert Casey (D-PA), John Thune (R-SD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Jim Risch (R-ID), and passed by unanimous consent.

The passage of these paired bills indicates a strong congressional affirmation of American support for direct negotiations aimed at developing a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Rep. Eric Cantor, Republican Majority Leader, called “upon the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table and join the Israelis in direct discussions to end this conflict,: and said “Furthermore, we call on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to renounce the violence Hamas condones and teaches to its followers.”

Rep. Hoyer asked the Palestinian leadership “to refrain from symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations,” arguing that “peace must be negotiated, not imposed from the outside.” He continued, saying “Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.”

Support for the bill has been expressed across a wide spectrum.  The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “commended the U.S. House of Representatives” and termed the resolution “a resounding message that the Palestinians cannot reject direct negotiations with Israel and embrace Hamas,” its National Chairman, Robert G. Sugarman and National Director Abraham H. Foxman, cautioned that ‘symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.'”

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler stressed the need for a bilateral, negotiated solution to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, leading towards a “two states for two peoples” solution. Said Nadler, “how can a dispute between two peoples ever be resolved by the unilateral decision of one?  The path to peace has been clear for many years and has been provided for by Security Council resolutions and by the 1993 Oslo Accords, signed by the Israelis and the Palestinians in 1993.  All these agreements provide for a settlement negotiated between the parties – a settlement that will result in two-states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine….The Palestinian Authority should instead explain to its people that a Palestinian state can be achieved only by conceding the right of a Jewish state to live in peace and security next door.  And, for that to happen, there must be a negotiated agreement recognizing two states for two peoples.  Evading a negotiated agreement is a formula for a future war.”

House Resolution 268 reaffirms the United States’ commitment to a negotiated settlement… through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations…to achieve “a true and lasting peace.”  It recalls historic pledges made by past leaders, including Rabin and Arafat, criticizes the PA/Hamas partnership, citing Hamas’ designation as “a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a specially designated terrorist organization.” (The continued captivity of Gilad Shalit by Hamas is noted.) The Bill outlines the United States’ positions on Hamas, the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, quoting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s demand for Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel. The resolution discusses American negotiation policy positions, and annual aid, (more than $550 million) noting that “more than $3.5 billion cumulatively, has been provided to the Palestinians.

Concluding, the Bill “urges the administration to consider suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority pending a review of the unity agreement; and reaffirms the United States statutory requirement precluding assistance to a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas unless that Authority and all its ministers publicly accept Israel’s right to exist and all prior agreements and understandings with the United States and Israel.”

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md), the Democratic Whip, was co-sponsor of the resolution.  Asked by the Algemeiner why he had initiated the bill, the Congressman said “We do not believe that independent or unilateral action to recognize a Palestinian state will move us toward what is necessary, and that’s agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis on an agreement on their own, as opposed to imposed.  And we think, in fact, it will undermine the ability to reach agreement if, in fact, there is a U.N. or unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state.”

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  • foundalot ofwillhave the same conceptwith your blog.

  • Kathleen

    Most countries around the globe will be voting for a Palestinian state at the UN in Sept. Palestinians are tired of the US’s dancing the Israeli jig! Tired of the talk talk talk

  • PissedOffAmerican

    Here, too, is yet one more essay the readers here may want to contemplate while they are silently and compliantly abiding comments such as McKenna’s….

    An excerpt….

    Israel’s Orthodox establishment claims that by monopolizing conversion to Judaism and the laws of marriage, they are preventing a rift in the Jewish people. The exact opposite is true: It is Israel’s turn toward racism that extends not only toward its Arab citizens, but toward Ethiopian youth not accepted into schools in Petah Tikva, toward Sephardic girls not allowed to study in Haredi schools in Immanuel, that most Jews in the world cannot stand for. It is the unholy coalition between nationalism and Orthodoxy that is tearing the Jewish people apart.

    The overwhelming majority of American and European Jews are deeply committed to Universalist values, and have been so for most of their existence. This commitment is not a fad or an attempt to be fashionable and politically correct. It is the deeply felt conclusion the majority of world Jewry draws from Jewish history: After all that has happened to us, we Jews must never, ever allow violation of universal human rights.

    This is why Jews in the U.S. have been central in the Civil Rights movement; this is why Jews in Europe will never forget that only Universalist liberals stood by Alfred Dreyfus in 1890s France. For most Jews of the world, it is simply unfathomable: How can we, who have suffered from racial and religious discrimination, use language and hold views that – as Israel Prize laureate and historian of fascism Zeev Sternhell argued – were last held in the Western world by the Franco regime?

    For most of world Jewry, the idea of Yiddishkeit in the second half of the 20th century meant that Jews must never compromise on the equality of human beings before the law and the inviolability of their rights. So how can they stand by a state that continues to pay rabbis who argue that Jewish life has a sanctity that doesn’t extend to gentiles, and that it is forbidden to rent property to Arabs?

    End excerpt.

  • PissedOffAmerican

    The readers here might devote some careful consideration to this Israeli Jew’s musings….

    ….particularly the last paragraph.

    The terrible message delivered at Algemeiner, at least in the comment section, and often within the actual essays offered, is one of blatant bigotry. The irony, is how prolifically the accusation of “anti-semitism” is applied. Invariably, the “anti-semitism” is falsely insinuated as a counter to criticism of Israeli policy, while the VERY REAL bigotry is openly exhibited by commentors opining in Israel’s defense.

    What is so disheartening is watching how quickly, and how completely, the Jewish Israeli society is becoming exactly what they bemoan others for being. Israel needs to wise up, and realize that they are becoming their own worst enemy.

    In little more than a decade, I have gone from being a staunch supporter of Israel and its alliance with the United States, to being a vocal critic of Israel, and an advocate of severing all aid and military assistance to Israel. I am not alone, and my sentiments are not founded in anti-semitism, or favoritism, (or even fondness), for the global Muslim community. Simply put, Israel’s policies and actions have become immoral, despicable, and destructive to the credibility and moral fibre of our own nation, and it’s body politik. In short, I am ASHAMED of my country’s subservience and complicity to the current Israeli agenda. And every dollar of mine, paid in taxes, that goes to Israel, does so without my blessing, and with my dissent.

  • Jews for Sense

    Dear PissedOffAmerican: wholeheartedly agreed. Well put.

  • PissedOffAmerican

    “That calls for the murder and total destruction for a whole nation of very successful and civilized people in favor of a 7th century, throwback, inbread horde”

    And such comments are not borne from racist hate?

    Meanwhile, on this site, you have another hasbarist essayist sniveling about the “demands” that Obama is imposing on Israel. Someone wanna clear that up for us??? WHAT DEMANDS????

  • Consider suspending aid,hell! Cut off the terror supporting, Jew hating, jerks NOW !
    Why are we supporting an outfit (not a country, not even an entity) That calls for the murder and total destruction for a whole nation of very successful and civilized people in favor of a 7th century, throwback, inbread horde.
    Hamas stands against all principles on which America was founded. Hamas is the governing party of what is called Palestine. DUH ? Are we missing something here ?

    • Kathleen

      Internationally recognized 67 borders. Stop the illegal settlements, expansion of illegal housing in E Jerusalem.

      In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out
      “JERUSALEM — With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

      Strike Kills Gaza Fighters, Spurring Hamas Warning (April 3, 2011)

      The Palestinian Authority has been steadily building support for such a resolution in September, a move that could place Israel into a diplomatic vise. Israel would be occupying land belonging to a fellow United Nations member, land it has controlled and settled for more than four decades and some of which it expects to keep in any two-state solution.

      “We are facing a diplomatic-political tsunami that the majority of the public is unaware of and that will peak in September,” said Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, at a conference in Tel Aviv last month. “It is a very dangerous situation, one that requires action.” He added, “Paralysis, rhetoric, inaction will deepen the isolation of Israel.”