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Contentions

Senate Threatens to Cut Aid if Palestinians Push UN Vote

A Senate resolution warning the Palestinian Authority that attempts to seek a statehood vote at the UN will put its U.S. aid at risk  passed unanimously yesterday, after hitting a minor speed-bump on Monday.

The resolution was put forward by Sens. Ben Cardin and Susan Collins, and co-sponsored by 88 senators. In addition to threatening aid cuts, it also condemned the Hamas-Fatah unity government agreement. Here is the text of the legislation:

A resolution reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, reaffirming opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence, and declaring that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid.

The resolution was first introduced as a unanimous consent item on Monday, a process by which all senators have to approve of a bill in order for it to go through. While it didn’t pass the first time, it ended up receiving unanimous support yesterday.

AIPAC, which lobbied for the resolution, praised the outcome in a press statement today, saying the “measure ‘reaffirms’ U.S. law that prohibits American assistance to a Palestinian Authority that ‘shares power with Hamas unless that Authority and all of its ministers publicly accept the right of Israel to exist and all prior agreements and understandings with the governments of the United States and Israel.’”

AIPAC is correct the resolution is a good start, though it would be even better to hear a strong affirmation of its message from President Obama.


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