US Denies Threat to Cut Off Aid to Palestinian Authority
The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has denied widespread reports that it directly told the Palestinian Authority that American aid would be cut off if it goes to the United Nations for recognition.
A deputy spokesman for the Consulate confirmed to Arutz Sheva Sunday the denial of the reports. Spokeswoman Arlissa Reynolds said that the reported comments made by Consul-General Daniel Rubinstein to PA negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jericho were "not an accurate portrayal of the U.S. position.”
Foreign news agencies reported on Friday that Rubinstein said, "If the Palestinian Authority insists on going to the Security Council, the U.S. will use the veto. And in case the Palestinian Authority seeks to upgrade its position at the UN through the General Assembly, the U.S. Congress will take punitive measures against it, including a cut in U.S. aid."
Reynolds reiterated American opposition to the strategy of the Palestinian Authority. She told the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, "We continue to oppose initiatives by the Palestinians in the UN. There is no substitute for serious and substantive negotiations between the parties, and that remains our focus."
Erekat reportedly told Rubinstein, "The right decision is to support Palestine's membership of the UN.”
A large number of Congressman in both the Senate and House of Representatives have called for halting American aid to the Palestinian Authority if it goes ahead with its strategy, which seems to have long past the point of no return.
Before leaving for another junket abroad, this time to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he would cancel the United Nations track only if Israel would halt all construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria and in large areas of Jerusalem where the PA claims sovereignty.
He also reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” a policy that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman shows Abbas’ true desire to create “a state that is free of Jews in Judea and Samaria, and a hostile takeover from within of the State of Israel. This is also the reason that Abbas and his colleagues are not interested in negotiating with Israel, and have preferred unilateral steps.”
Ashton’s opposition to the PA strategy has placed it at odds with the entire Western world for the time. “It is only through negotiations, and not violence, that the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can be addressed,” Ashton said this weekend.
She is visiting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday in another attempt to pave the way for what Abbas calls negotiations but which are in effect demands that Israel accept all of the Arab world’s condition for establishing the Palestinian Authority as an independent country.
Abbas reiterated that the demands include Israel’s accepting the immigration of foreign Arabs whose host Arab countries have refused to grant them citizenship.