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November 29, 2012 11:02 am

GOP Senators Make First Efforts to Penalize Palestinians for UN Bid

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United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City. Photo: Patrick Gruban.

Republican U.S. senators introduced a bill Wednesday that would penalize both the Palestinians and the United Nations should the former be granted upgraded status Thursday.

The language introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act would cut assistance to the Palestinian Authority by 50 percent, U.S. fees to the United Nations by 50 percent and aid to any country voting to approve the bid by 20 percent should the Palestinian effort to gain recognition as a non-member observer state succeed.

The amendment language was introduced by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

Barrasso released a statement Wednesday that read in part: “The Palestinian Authority’s attempt to change their United Nations’ status is a purely political maneuver that will circumvent direct peace process negotiations with Israel.  If the Palestinians move forward with this irresponsible plan, they will violate international agreements, undermine the peace process and threaten the security of our ally. My amendment makes it clear that undermining the peace process comes at a cost.”

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a second amendment to the same bill that would cut off all funding to the UN were the vote to succeed.

“Increasing the Palestinians’ role in the United Nations is absolutely the wrong approach, especially in light of recent military developments in the Middle East,” Hatch said in a statement. “Israel is one of America’s closest allies, and any movement to strengthen one of its fiercest enemies must not be tolerated.”

Hatch’s amendment was cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kans.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

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