US committee passes PA-isolation bill

Watered-down version of first draft allows indirect supply of humanitarian aid.

capitol hill 88 (photo credit: )
capitol hill 88
(photo credit: )
The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations approved a bill on Thursday intended to isolate Hamas and cut all US relations with the Palestinian Authority. The bill, which was passed at a 36:2 majority is a watered-down version of the original bill, and is considered to be more moderate. The new bill allows the president to use his waver authority in order to approve direct assistance to the PA, and is not as tough as the original version on supplying the Palestinians with humanitarian assistance. The version approved by the committee enabled the US to provide aid to the Palestinians through non-governmental organizations for causes of health, water improvement and food supplies. In addition, the US may transfer money to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for purposes of elections, or for his personal security. The bill includes diplomatic limitations as well, including the closure of PLO offices in Washington, and the restriction of PA representatives' movement to within 40 km of New York. The original text was mitigated following the administration's request not to cut funds altogether and to allow a certain amount of ties with the PA. Israel Radio reported that the bill was advanced by the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby must still be brought before the House of Representatives for final approval.