“Voice, Vote, and Influence”
The U.S. has been adamant about withholding funds from Hamas, and has gotten surprisingly decent support from European countries and Arab banks. As a rule, it’s good not to spend our money on terrorists. But an even better approach has emerged in The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and nearly 300 co-sponsors, attacking the Palestinian question at its diplomatic roots.
The U.S. has been adamant about withholding funds from Hamas, and has gotten surprisingly decent support from European countries and Arab banks. As a rule, it’s good not to spend our money on terrorists. But an even better approach has emerged in The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and nearly 300 co-sponsors, attacking the Palestinian question at its diplomatic roots. American support for Palestinian aspirations to statehood must be predicated upon Palestinian support for civil rights for its own people and demonstrable acceptance of the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty in the region. The President said so in the June 24th Speech, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s bill adds congressional muscle to his words.
In our favorite part, the bill directs the President to “transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a report containing recommendations for the elimination of such entities and efforts that are duplicative or fail to ensure balance in the approach of the United Nations to Israeli-Palestinian issues,” citing:
- The United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights
- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
- The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority
- The NGO Network on the Question of Palestine
- The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human
- Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
- Any other entity the Secretary determines results in duplicative efforts or funding or fails to ensure balance in the approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues
It then directs the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations to use his “voice, vote and influence,” to enact the President’s recommendations.
The bill also restricts the visas of Palestinian “diplomatic” representatives, restricts their travel in the U.S. (for UN meetings, etc., although after we get rid of all of those one-sided committees, we won’t need many Palestinian “diplomats”), and prohibits PA representation in the U.S.
That hits two of the four recommendations JINSA made right after the election – we also wanted to disband the Quartet and shelve the Road Map – and makes clear that the U.S. has standards for diplomatic intercourse, even as the bill permits limited humanitarian funding – with U.S. aid packages labeled as such. We previously called on the U.S. and the EU to “withdraw political support for Palestinian statehood and decline to treat PA personnel like diplomats when they troop through Europe and the UN … At the level of public perception, Palestinians relish being the political equivalent of the Israelis – they are not and they should be denied.”
This bill goes a very long way toward that goal; not as punishment but as the natural outcome of political choices the Palestinians have made and which we Americans are under no obligation to support.