The US is cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza by $80 million, which top Democrats in Congress have called a message to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted unanimously Oct. 22 on a resolution condemning Abbas and the Palestinian leadership for “incitement” to violence against Jews in Israel with false statements accusing Israel of planning to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, and for systematic hate-mongering in Palestinian education and media. The resolution complements a State Department Sept. 25 announcement of cutting economic aid for to the Palestinians by 21.6%, from $370 million to $290 million in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to Al-Monitor.
The vote came while Israel was in the midst of battling a rash of stabbing, stone and Molotov cocktail attacks, as well as shooting, on the part of Arabs in Judea as well as Samaria and inside green line Israel. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee stated: “We need to dial up pressure on Palestinian officials to repudiate this violence.”
The author of the resolution, Middle East Subpanel Chairwoman , R-Fla., called on both the Palestinians and Jordan to help defuse the tensions. “Instead of inciting violence and promoting hatred, [Abbas] needs to call for calm and work with the Israelis to restore the peace,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The king of Jordan also has an important role to play as the guardian of Jerusalem’s Islamic holy sites.”
Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Kay Granger, R-Texas, wrote a letter to Abbas warning him that US aid would be “severely jeopardized” if he continues to refuse direct peace negotiations with Israel.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said before the Oct 22 vote that “given that about one-third of the Palestinian Authority’s budget is financed through foreign aid, international donors have leverage. They could follow the lead of the US Congress — and make direct funding of the PA off limits until the incitement stops.”