The US Senate has passed resolution 185, a move that would cut funding to the Palestinian Authority if it pursues its current announced intention to seek statehood through the United Nations. The Senate also called on President Obama to veto any such movement if it came to the security council and called for a review of the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 87 senators, also calls for the Palestinian unity government to “publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with the Government of Israel.”
Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid, the resolution said.
Senator Henry Reid, after the vote, said:
“the United States of America will not give money to terrorists bent on the destruction of the State of Israel. America’s willingness to continue our current aid program will depend on the Palestinian government’s insistence that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist, that it renounce violence and that it honor the commitments made by prior Palestinian Authority governments.”
The move, which was co-sponsored by 87 senators, is only a Senate resolution right now and does not have the force of law.
According to a new report by the Congressional Research Service, aid to Palestinians amounts to about $600 million, in addition to donations to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The US gives Israel about $3 billion per year.