Tell Congress - Aid to Palestinians is Necessary for Peace
Last week, we began a series about Israeli-Palestinian peace with an alert discussing the necessity of negotiations toward a two-state solution. Today, we continue that series, addressing the issue of U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian people. In the wake of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' decision this fall to move forward with a resolution asking the United Nations to recognize Palestinian statehood, the United States Congress has taken several steps to cut off U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinians. This includes direct aid to the Palestinian Authority and support for its security operations (including its security cooperation with Israel that has helped bring violence to historic lows), as well as key humanitarian assistance to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Each of these plays a vital role in support of a just peace, and irrespective of one's views on Palestinian actions at the UN, should not be used as a tool of punishment against the PA.
These moves to cut off aid have drawn strong opposition from the Obama Administration, the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and from key voices within Israel. Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged lawmakers to allow the disbursement of aid, noting that among the consequences of ending aid could be "collapse of the Palestinian Authority and a vacuum that could be filed by radicals like Hamas." In short, aid to the Palestinian people plays a key role in the cultivation of a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and terminating it could lead to disastrous outcomes for all involved: Palestinians, Israelis, American interests in the region, and the peace process itself.