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US Congress backs PA aid cuts over reconciliation deal
Published Friday 08/07/2011 (updated) 10/07/2011 11:43
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WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The US House of Representatives on Thursday warned the Palestinians that they risk cuts in US aid if they pursue UN recognition of a future state not defined in direct talks with Israel.

In an overwhelming 406-6 vote, lawmakers backed a symbolic resolution sending a stern message to the Palestinians one week after the US Senate unanimously approved a similar measure.

The bill also urged US President Barack Obama to consider suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority pending a view of a unity deal between President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and Gaza rulers Hamas.

"Any Palestinian unity government must publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel's right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with Israel," it says.

Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer crafted the resolution.

The measure reaffirmed US support for a two-state solution that would see "a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition."

But it warned of "serious implications for the United States assistance programs for the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority" if they seek UN recognition of a future state not crafted in talks with Israel.

Peace talks ground to a halt in September 2010 when Israel failed to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Since then, the Palestinians have refused to return to talks as long as Israel builds on land they want for a future state.

They are planning to seek recognition of their state within the 1967 lines that preceded the Six-Day War when the UN General Assembly meets in September, despite the opposition of both Israel and the United States.

France has indicated that it might recognize an independent Palestinian state if peace talks are not back on track by September.

Germany, like the United States, is opposed to any unilateral steps and accepts the Israeli position that any progress must be made through negotiations.

The resolution supports Obama's opposition to a Palestinian push at the UN and urges him to announce that Washington will veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood before the UN Security Council unless it is the result of Israel-Palestinian talks.

The planned vote came as envoys from the so-called diplomatic "Quartet" for Middle East peace -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- were to meet in Washington on July 11.

The United States had hesitated for months over organizing the meeting before securing substantial progress towards a return to negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
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1 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
08/07/2011 11:05
US aid was ending anyway. The US broke itself during the past decade giving money to rich people and companies and waging three wars without a single dime of financing. The US is $14 Trillion (thousand billion) in debt. Congress does not want to pay the debt so there is a political impasse. The impasse will be resolved by either a political deal or a default. Either way, US foreign aid will end. This vote is just political posturing.

2 ) BIG MIKE / ANTI ZIONIST
08/07/2011 15:00
EXTORTION IS HOW THE USA WORKS TO GET IT'S WAY... MOFIOSO TAKTIC !!!

3 ) JohnWV / USA
08/07/2011 17:54
Israel has reduced Gaza to an open air prison and collectively tortures and kills its inmates by merely denying necessities. May a contiguous and fully autonomous Palestinian State be established and thrive on PUNITIVE REPARATIONS so draining that Israel's persistent wheedling for unearned advantage is disrupted.

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
08/07/2011 18:52
I understand the Americans' position but they just don't yet realize that the Palestinians are tired and sick and sick and tired of them. If I were Palestinian I'd feel the same way. The Palestinians should just tell the U.S. to shut the hell up and if it means no more U.S. economic aid, so be it. They have betrayed the Palestinians long enough. They just don't understand that what the Americans call terrorism to them is justifiable resistance [at least from the perspective (continued ...)

5 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
08/07/2011 19:04
... of Hamas and others like them]. When a people has a desire to be united (like we did back in the period from the U.N. Partition Plan approval vote on Nov. 29, 1947 till the time the British announced they would stop and withdraw from the Palestinian Mandate by May 14, 1948), nothing will stop its attempt at unity for a cause it believes in. At that time, yes, the divisions we had among ourselves (from the Haganah, the Irgun, the so-called Stern gang, etc. (continued ...)

6 ) EE / UK
08/07/2011 21:06
4 – palestinians do not need to talk when they are so tired of collecting aid money – they just need to bounce back next aid check when it comes.

7 ) OMAr / USA
08/07/2011 21:53
hahahaha, the Israeli occupied U.S. Congress is irrelevant. No one cares what you or your President have to say. You can't even feed your own people. America is a has been, no longer relevant in the World.

8 ) Mo / Canada
09/07/2011 02:09
To Mr "(7) Hahaha" America was the only country who gave any money to the PA, the Arabs, much richer, pledged money, but only came through on half last year and NONE this year. Things are so bad that the PA can't even pay their own workers what they owe them. If the US backs out on their aid, Palestine is megascrewed. Who are they going to rely on for $$? Egypt? Syria? EU? eU must be kidding

9 ) Linda / USA
09/07/2011 05:29
These comments are super! And I speak as an American who is absolutely fed up with the way the US gov't runs us and the rest of the world into the ground. Cheers! Free Palestine (which in the end will free the Israeli oppressors)!

10 ) PFLP / Jordan
09/07/2011 06:01
you couldn't have said it better Omar... let it be shown once again clearly that the US insists upon being the enemy of the Arab peoples
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