Should the Palestinian Territories Continue to Receive Aid from the United States?
Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator (D-CA), quoted in an Apr. 1, 2015 article by Jessica Schulberg for the Huffington Post titled “Palestinians Join International Criminal Court, Risking Loss of U.S. Aid,” stated:
“A two-state solution remains the best way to achieve a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and I believe U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority is key to that goal… The assistance is vital to maintain the institutional foundations for a future state and sustain the day-to-day life of the Palestinian people. It is both strategic, by enhancing stability and security in the region, and necessary.”Apr. 1, 2015 - Dianne Feinstein
J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-peace American nonprofit organization, in a petition to United States Senators titled “Tell Congress: Aid Benefiting Palestinians Enhances Israel’s Security,” available from the J Street website (accessed July 14, 2015), wrote:
“US aid benefiting the Palestinians furthers shared American and Israeli interests and should be maintained – if consistent with current US law… US assistance in training Palestinian security forces has been regularly praised by Israel’s top security officials for significantly reducing attacks in and emanating from the West Bank. Similarly, governance and humanitarian programs funded by US aid also bolster Israeli’s security by enhancing stability, accountability and opportunity in the Palestinian territory… Ultimately, cutting aid could lead to a collapse of the PA, and require Israel to bear the significant burden of overseeing the administration and security of areas of the West Bank currently under PA control, which would be an economic, administrative and diplomatic disaster for Israel. Nor should the moral or human toll of ending US aid to the Palestinians be ignored. Cutting off vital US assistance would only exacerbate the deprivations Palestinians experience daily under occupation, threatening livelihoods and even lives. In myriad ways, ending US aid benefiting Palestinians would make conditions on the ground even less conducive to a two-state resolution to the conflict, thereby jeopardizing Israel’s future as a secure, democratic and Jewish homeland.”July 14, 2015 - J Street
Brian Reeves, MA, Visiting Fellow at the Mitvim Institute, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, in a June 27, 2014 op-ed for Haaretz titled “Congress Shouldn’t Cut Aid to the Palestinian Authority,” wrote:
“The PA represents a moderate force among Palestinians, is often receptive to Western demands, and most of all is key to strengthening the Palestinian economy and infrastructure – ingredients widely accepted as conducive to Israel’s security. Even a partial reduction in aid, as Congress is proposing, would hamper the PA’s ability to pay for projects and employee salaries – a move that would further stall the economy and the Gaza Strip’s long road to recovery.”June 27, 2014 - Brian Reeves, MA
The United States Department of State, in a statement by then spokesperson, Jen Psaki, at the Jan. 5, 2015 Department of State Office of Press Relations’ daily press briefing, the transcript of which is available from the Department of State website, stated:
“We clearly do see a benefit in the U.S. assistance that we do provide and have provided to the Palestinian Authority. It’s played a valuable role in promoting stability and prosperity, not just for Palestinians but for the region.”Jan. 5, 2015 - US Department of State
Daniel Larison, PhD, Senior Editor at The American Conservative, in a Jan. 7, 2015 article titled, “The Dumb Drive to Defund Palestine,” published by The American Conservative and written in response to Senator Rand Paul’s introduction of the “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015” which aimed to block United States funding to the Palestinian Authority unless its leaders withdrew their request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), wrote:
“Cutting off funds to the Palestinian Authority for seeking recourse through international institutions is a lousy way to respond to a diplomatic initiative. It would tell the P.A. that it can’t seek redress through peaceful means… It tells Palestinians that every initiative that seeks recognition of their statehood will result in punitive measures, which can only strengthen the hand of fanatics and hard-liners. Doing this would make the likelihood of an eventual political settlement even more remote than it is now…
Withdrawing aid from the P.A. at this time could also have very real and dangerous consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians. Defunding the P.A. would make it less effective in cooperating on security and would undermine it politically.”Jan. 7, 2015 - Daniel Larison, PhD
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, United States Representative (R-FL), quoted in a June 2, 2014 article by Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor titled “Congress to Obama: Cut Aid to Palestinians,” stated:
“The PA deciding to partner with a designated foreign terrorist organization [Hamas, the military/political group elected to govern Gaza] once again reaffirms that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is not a true partner for peace and the US must respond by withholding assistance to any Hamas backed unity government… The administration must not fall for Abu Mazen’s latest ploy and instead enforce US law and cut off funding.”June 2, 2014 - Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, EdD
United with Israel, a pro-Israel activist group, in a petition to the United States and the European Union titled “Stop Funding the Palestinian Authority,” available from the United with Israel website (accessed June 5, 2015), wrote:
“We, the undersigned, urge… the United States and the European Union to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority. Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, the PA has actively participated in campaigns to demonize Israel, incite terror against Israeli citizens and glorify any anti-Israel activities. Since 2014, the PA has entered a unity agreement with Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization whose Charter specifically calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, and by extension the Jewish People.
Most recently the PA has filed for membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the sole purpose of prosecuting the State of Israel for alleged war crimes committed during Operation Protective Edge. This renders funding the Palestinian Authority to be in direct violation of US law.
Funding the PA is equivalent to funding terror and is against US law.”June 5, 2015 - United with Israel
Mohsen Moh’d Saleh, PhD, General Manager of the Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, in a Dec. 21, 2014 opinion piece for Al Jazeera, titled “The Dilemma of Foreign Aid to the Palestinian Authority,” available at the Al-Zaytouna website, wrote:
“From its outset, the PA found itself in an environment that did not allow it to stand on its feet, whether because of the ongoing occupation, the nature of the peace agreements, and/or because the PA itself is relatively new. For this reason, foreign aid became a main source of funding.
However, these funds are political money associated to the agendas of funder countries, which are mostly Western countries with strong ties to Israel and are led by the United States (US). Hence, these try to impose their own version of the peace process and its obligations…
Palestinian decision-makers would be mistaken to believe that they can achieve national unity, build comprehensive representation and effective institutions, liberate the land and holy sites, and build a productive economy, while at the same time enjoying the political money of Israel’s alliances and close friends.
Accordingly, independence of the Palestinian decision-making depends mainly on relinquishing this aid, and on searching for alternative ways to support steadfastness, enhance strength, and increase social and political immunity. Consequently, a healthy atmosphere of the Palestinian struggle would be available, without having to pay prices at the expense of Palestinian rights, dignity, pride, liberation and independence.”Dec. 21, 2014 - Mohsen Moh'd Saleh, PhD
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in their Feb. 5, 2015 memo titled “Suspend Aid to the Palestinians,” available from their website, wrote:
“Over the last year, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has pursued a series of counterproductive moves aimed at attacking and pressuring Israel in international fora. Rather than sit at the negotiating table, the Palestinians – through Jordan – put forward a resolution to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) in December that sought to impose a predetermined outcome while ignoring key Israeli concerns. On Dec. 31, Abbas initiated a process intended to lead to war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In response to these actions the U.S. should suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority. The United States should continue to press the Palestinians to return to direct bilateral negotiations with Israel as the only path to ultimately achieve peace.”Feb. 5, 2015 - American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)