Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015

January 6, 2015
January 6, 2015
Referred to Senate (sub)committee

This bill would prohibit any assistance, loan guarantees, or debt relief for the PA until it withdraws its request to join the ICC.

PA pres. Mahmoud Abbas signed documents of accession to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s governing treaty, on 12/31/15. In a provision perennially included in bills appropriating funds to the State Dept. and foreign operations, all aid to the Palestinians—both support for programs in the West Bank and Gaza and to the PA, comprising an annual average of around $440 m.—would be barred if the Palestinians initiate or actively support an ICC investigation into alleged Israeli crimes against Palestinians (see *H.R. 83 of 1/3/13).

Paul introduced a similar bill in 2013 also cutting off all aid to the Palestinians but it was conditioned on a presidential certification that the PA, inter alia, recognize Israel as a Jewish state and renounce terrorism (see S. 2265 of 4/29/14).

On 1/9, several Senate leaders, including Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a statement threatening a ‘strong response’ to the Palestinian accession to the ICC and alluding to adjustments in U.S. aid. They also said that Congress would seek to protect Israeli citizens from ICC investigations, should the court accept Palestine’s application. Furthermore, Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) circulated a letter in 1/2015 addressed to Secy. of State John Kerry calling for a suspension of aid to the PA pending a review of the Palestinians’ unilateral actions at the UN and ICC. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) publicly supported both initiatives.

Last major action: 1/6/14 referred to Comm. on Foreign Relations.


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