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Congressional initiatives target P.A.

JTA

June 17, 2011 | 3:23 pm

A number of initiatives are circulating in Congress targeting the Palestinians in the wake of their diplomatic tensions with Israel.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) this week circulated through the Republican Study Committee, the GOP’s influential conservative caucus, a proposal to introduce a Palestinian Accountability Act, legislation that would condition support for the Palestinian Authority on its willingness to negotiate, its efforts to combat terrorism and incitement, and its recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. It cites as bad faith the P.A.‘s recent efforts to obtain recognition of statehood through the United Nations.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) this week sought signatories for a letter to Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, appealing to him to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of its intention to establish a unity government with Hamas, the terrorist groups controlling the Gaza Strip.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) published a report following his visit to Israel earlier this month with Chicago’s Jewish federation that made many similar calls, including cutting off aid to any P.A.-Hamas unity government and in case the Palestinians seek U.N. recognition.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in a rare public release, accused the P.A. of engaging in “diplomatic warfare” against Israel through its U.N. efforts and its setting of preconditions for a return to talks.

These latest efforts join a number of congressional initiatives that would reject any pressure on Israel to return to the 1967 borders.

President Obama in a May 19 policy speech said Israeli-Palestinian negotiations should be renewed on the basis of the 1967 borders, but with mutually agreed land swaps and extensive security guarantees for Israel.

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