Senate Panel Approves Bill to Suspend Aid to Palestinians

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has voted today 17-4 to pass a bill that would suspend all US financial aid to the Palestinian Authority until they agree to end social programs which Congressmen described as providing a “financial incentive” for terrorism.

The Palestinian General Delegation to the US says the bill is “misinformed,” and that the social programs in question are not intended to reward terror, but rather to provide bare minimum support for Palestinian families who lost their breadwinners to the occupation, noting that the vast majority of those in question were “unduly arrested or killed by Israel.”

That’s not really going to play well in Congress, as Israel has long presented these programs as essentially pay for terror attacks, and of course doesn’t account for the large number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons held without charges, or just on broad suspicion of “incitement.”

Complicating matters is that the term “martyr payments” is commonly used, which is being interpreted in the US as evidence that they’re being paid for suicide attacks, when in reality the term “martyr” is broadly used in the Middle East for dying in general.

The bill not only requires the Palestinians to end payments to those killed during accused “acts of terrorism,” but would also require the Palestinians to outlaw any provision of aid to the families of anyone held in Israeli prisons. Given the scope of Israel’s detentions, that would effectively bar the PA from providing any aid at all to the population, as virtually everyone has a family member under detention on some pretext or another.

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