kay granger GOOD 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
WASHINGTON – A top congresswoman is warning that the US could reduce aid to the
Palestinians if they pursue a unilateral declaration of statehood at the
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“That would be a very, very bad thing to do,” Rep. Kay Granger,
chairwoman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing foreign aid, told
The Jerusalem Post. (The interview will appear in Monday’s Pessah supplement.)
“It will” affect US aid to the Palestinian Authority, the Texas Republican said,
adding, “It would be a very serious step. It also could affect our funding at
For the time being, however, she said that she supports aid for
the Palestinians and sees the US continuing to contribute hundreds of millions
in dollars for Palestinian security despite the GOP zeal for reducing
“We believed that was important, and I continue to believe
that’s important,” she said. “I’ve been there and seen some of the security
that’s occurring that we’re helping to fund. And I think overall it’s a help –
it’s a help toward reaching a peace, if we can do that.”
told the Post that she and other Republicans remained committed to aid for
Israel, which totals nearly $3 billion in annual assistance.
friendship and assistance is solid from the Congress, both the House andSenate and both Democrats and Republicans,” she said.
When the Republican
focus on making cuts – particularly to foreign aid – first surfaced during last
year’s congressional campaigns, some Israel-backers, including Rep. Eric Cantor
of Virginia, who is now the House majority leader, suggested funding for Israel
might be put in the defense budget. That way, since the defense budget was less
likely to face sharp cuts, Israel funding could be more secure.
Grangers said she opposed such a move, and for the time being it appears to be
off the table.
“What I want to ensure is that funding for Israel’s there,
but it not be singled out, because I think it’s really at risk there,” she said.
“Some of the people that suggested it be pulled out of foreign operations I
think were well intended – but I think they’re wrong, because it makes Israel
such a target, and so much attention [focused] just on Israel.”
short-term, aid to Israel and the PA has been preserved, but events on Capitol
Hill, as well as at the UN, could affect that.
The idea of cutting PA aid
should its leaders approach the UN for recognition of statehood without an
agreement with Israel has the support of Democrats as well as Republicans,
according to a aide to a Democrat on Granger’s subcommittee.
“The aid to
the Palestinians includes the US’s understanding the Palestinians will continue
to keep pursuing peace with Israel as per the Oslo agreement. If they were to
unilaterally declare a state, they would be violating that understanding,” he
said. “I think there’s no question that if they were to unilaterally declare a
state, it would affect our aid.”
Ghaith al-Omari, advocacy director for
the American Task Force for Palestine, welcomed Granger’s commitment to
maintaining PA security funding.
“It’s very positive that she is
supporting one of the things that’s clearly succeeded over the last period,”
Regarding the threat that going to the UN could pose for US
funding, Omari said the Palestinians “have to understand there’s a huge price to
pay, not only in terms of funding for Congress, but in terms of relationships
with the administration. So they would have to weigh the perceived benefits of
going to the UN with the many possible costs that would come with
There are also members of Congress who want US aid to the Egyptians
to be dependent on whether whatever new government takes power adheres to its
peace treaty with Israel. Democratic Reps. Shelley Berkley of Nevada and Eliot
Engel of New York have sponsored legislation to condition funding on that
In addition, the US Senate on Thursday night overwhelmingly passed
a resolution calling for the Goldstone Report to be rescinded.
on the United Nations Human Rights Council members to reflect the author’s
repudiation of the Goldstone report’s central findings, rescind the report, and
reconsider further council actions with respect to the report’s findings.”
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