In US spending bill, a warning to Palestinians on UN actions

Congress omnibus includes new Iran oversight, increased defense spending on Israel.

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December 16, 2014 02:56
1 minute read.
Kerry and Abbas

US Secretary of State Kerry meets with Palestinian President Abbas in Amman.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – The US will eliminate funding to the Palestinian Authority should it move forward with a bid for statehood at the United Nations without Israeli consent, according to a new omnibus spending bill Congress that passed over the weekend.

That provision, theoretically, prevents the Obama administration from changing its long-held policy against unilateral Palestinian action, as the PA considers such moves this week.

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PA officials suggested action would take place at the Security Council as early as Wednesday.

Jordan and France have drafted resolutions that would set a timeline for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, without approval or acquiescence from Jerusalem.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking to prevent that vote, though reports surfaced on Monday suggesting the US might be amenable to a working draft of the French resolution. The Jerusalem Post could not independently verify these claims.

The law also requires the State Department cut funding to the PA should it fail to combat incitement to violence against Israel, or if Hamas is found to be exerting “undue influence” in its role in the PA.

That builds on language from previous appropriations bills, which proposed cutting aid if Hamas and Fatah shared power in government.

The current reconciliation government is recognized by the Obama administration as a technocratic body, full of bureaucrats unaffiliated with either party.

Outside of new restrictions on the Palestinians, the law includes $3.1 billion in annual defense spending for Israel and an additional $620 million in joint US-Israel missile defense.

The bill also makes provisions requiring the White House to report to Congress every 30 days on Iran’s compliance with the terms governing nuclear talks between Iran and major powers.

Congress also provided $6.57m. over US President Barack Obama’s budget request to the Treasury Department for sanctions enforcement.

JTA contributed to this report.


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