Congress Threatens to Shut Off Palestinian (Foreign Aid) Tap
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress threatened on Wednesday to close the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington if it should defy the United States and Israel by pursuing a unilateral bid for the United Nations to accept Palestine as an independent state.
The vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee came as the United States and France pressured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to abandon his bid for membership and return to negotiations with Israel. The diplomatic maneuvering unfolded in New York as the United Nations opened its annual meeting, with Abbas expected to submit his letter of application on Friday and the United States vowing a veto in the U.N. Security Council.
In Congress, frustrated lawmakers used the committee's debate and approval of a $53 billion bill to fund the State Department and foreign operations next year to signal there would be consequences if the Palestinians press ahead.
"This is all falling apart," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the foreign operations subcommittee and the sponsor of the amendment.