Sunday, October 2, 2016

Congress Must Act to Prevent Unilateral Move to Create Palestinian State - Clifford Smith

by Clifford Smith

A White House decision to support unilateral Palestinian statehood would unquestionably be contrary to the will of Congress

President Obama is rumored to be considering a major reversal of decades-long U.S. policy toward Israel by supporting a UN Security Council resolution that unilaterally recognizes a Palestinian state before a peace agreement is negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. Congress must act to counter this bold and reckless move that endangers Israel's security and America's strategic interests.

There is much at stake: Israel is a free and democratic ally in a hostile region that has been repeatedly attacked by its neighbors. Before it occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights in 1967, these territories were used as a base of war and terrorism against the Jewish state. Offers to create a Palestinian state in Gaza and most of the West Bank that would allow for a safe and secure Israel have been repaid by intifada after intifada.

Others have argued persuasively that any Palestinian state established in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel will become a virtually ungovernable hotbed of terrorism sure to threaten not just Israel, but also the region and the world. The events in Gaza in the past decade strongly support this position. Ordinary Palestinians will also suffer, forced to endure rule by the same Islamic fanatics and brutal, corrupt autocrats who have destroyed their economy.

Any Palestinian state established absent a peace agreement with Israel will be a hotbed of terrorism.
A White House decision to support unilateral Palestinian statehood would unquestionably be contrary to the will of Congress: 88 senators recently signed a letter opposing such an action, while 388 members of the House have signed a similar letter supporting a veto of all "one-sided" UN resolutions concerning the Israel/Palestine issue.

And these numbers understate congressional opposition: several senators refused to sign the letter because they thought it was insufficiently strong. Furthermore, a White House reversal on unilateral Palestinian statehood would also be contrary to the stated policies of both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

To dissuade a determined White House from this course of action, Congress will have to do more than write letters. Here are some of the legislative options that could throw significant roadblocks in its path.

Congress should make clear it will sanction a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
First, Congress should make clear its intention to sanction any unilaterally-declared Palestinian state and its new leaders, blocking their access to U.S. banking and markets, similar to sanctions on the Iranian regime. Loss of access to the U.S. financial system would be extremely costly to any Palestinian regime.

Second, Congress should make clear its intention to immediately and completely cut hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the event that President Mahmoud Abbas succeeds in his bid to win Palestinian statehood recognition at the UN.

Congress reduced this aid by 22 percent last year in retaliation for the PA's continuing terrorism incitement. It would be a significant blow to a new state to cut all such aid.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas meets with relatives of Palestinian "martyrs" against Israel in a photo published by the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 2, 2016.
Third, Congress should mandate that any newly-created Palestinian state be designated a state sponsor of terrorism. This designation would include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; and various other restrictions. The Palestinian Authority (PA) currently uses a shell-game to pay the families of terrorists, something Congress is currently working to stop. Other PA ties to various terrorist activities go back decades.

Finally, Congress should review and update decades-old federal laws prohibiting U.S. funding of any UN organization that "accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states" to ensure that they apply and cannot be skirted if Abbas wins Security Council recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Now would be a good time for Congress to stop shirking its duty to shape foreign policy.
Congress should use its power boldly to exert influence over this vital issue. Large majorities in Congress opposed the Iran nuclear deal and had both the facts and public opinion on their side. But due to the peculiarities of the law and the politics of the situation, they were outmaneuvered. Congress should work to ensure this situation is not repeated.

Though knowledgeable and trusted congressional leaders like Senators Arthur Vandenberg and Henry "Scoop" Jackson once led coalitions in Congress that held great influence in foreign affairs, there is a bipartisan belief that Congress has shirked its duty to shape foreign policy in recent decades. Now would be a good time to start taking it back.

Clifford Smith is director of the Middle East Forum's Washington Project.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oct. 02, 2016

Whatever Congress "ought to" or "should do", control of events in the morally nihilistic Muslim orient is beyond even the most benign version of civilized restraint or rational negotiation.. especially self-destructive, day-dream-nightmares of "peace agreements" and "security resolutions". No matter what THEY call themselves,, "pakistan", 'Bangladesh' "palestine" "Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas, Islamic State, Libya, Egypt. et all, only the most decisive & coordinated action on the part of the non-Muslim world will put THEM in their place. As for the imminence of an Oval Office sponsored "unilateral declaration of independence" by the "palestinians", it's been in the cards for decades at the "united nations" gargoyle show, The base-line of the U.D.I thing is the quid pro quo 'understanding' reached decades ago between the hugely disproportionate Quebecois presence among Canada's diplomatic establishment and u.n. employees,and the Muslim members of the u.n.
It's the world's worst kept secret. Instant recognition by almost all u.n. member states for a fait-accompli U.D.I. by Quebec: Ditto for "palestine". P.M Justin Trudeau, former P.M. Chretien, our dual citizen foreign minister Stephane Dion and hundreds of their well-retired minions are just lying in wait for the opportunity. But the chances of the final showdown with the Islamic World occurring just "east of Suez" or in over-run Europa,are now greatly out-weighed by what is happening on the borders of INDIA and "pakistan"..the most dangerous failed nation state on the planet. For those who are interested in how this affects world Jewry and Medinat Yisroel, we suggest you study closely the growing ties between India and Israel since the "arrangement" that began in 1995. It's a powerhouse combo that the mostly lib-left dominated media and junk academe,pretend doesn't exist. Check it out.

GOOGLE :Norman L. Roth

Post a Comment