CMEP Bulletin: Congress Questions US Aid to the Palestinian Authority

CMEP Bulletin: Congress Questions US Aid to the Palestinian Authority

The FY15 Consolidated Appropriations bill passed in December 2014 cuts off US aid to the Palestinian Authority if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court [ICC] judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

In response to the Palestinians January 2nd application to join the ICC, Republican and Democrat leaders on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry January 22nd urging Kerry to suspend funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA). 75 Senators signed a letter to Kerry four days later saying they would not support aid to the PA while the State Department determines if the Palestinians have met the criteria stipulated in the FY15 Consolidated Appropriations bill for the cutting off of aid.  

The Prosecutor of the ICC opened a preliminary examination, not an investigation, of the situation in Palestine on January 16th.  Both Congressmen and Senators have stated humanitarian aid to the Palestinians should continue.

During a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing February 4th members asked witnesses whether Palestinians had legally initiated an investigation of Israel by granting the ICC jurisdiction in the occupied Palestinian territory. Witnesses said the answer depended on how “initiate” is legally interpreted. Witness David Makovsky, a Fellow at The Washington Institute on Near East Policy, said that aid to the PA should continue because, “Withholding funding — over time — will lead to the collapse of security cooperation [with Israel] and ultimately the PA, creating a vacuum that can be filled by radicalism.”

Read the full bulletin here.