US Officials Considering Cutting PA Aid After Abbas's UN Gambit
American legislators have expressed disappointment with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas's latest gambit – applying for membership in United Nations organizations as the “state of Palestine.” Both Republican and Democratic leaders said that the U.S. should seriously consider cutting aid to the PA if Abbas continues with the process.
Rep. Kay Granger, (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations & Related Programs, said in an interview that the point of American aid to the PA was to advance the peace process, but unilaterally seeking recognition of a state by enrolling in UN organizations was antithetical to peace. “What a lot of it was, we're going to try to help as you try to negotiate at the peace table in good faith,” she said. “Well, I can't see that that was good faith.”
Nina Lowey (D-New York), the ranking Democratic member on the Subcommittee said that she was “extremely disappointed” by Abbas' move. When Congress approved aid for the PA, it was with the intention that investing in the PA and economic development would be the most productive step we could take to encourage peace.” Abbas's unilateral moves obviate that, she said.
The PA gets about $400 million annually from the US.
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday formally submitted its applications to join 15 international agencies. The UN's special envoy on Mideast peace, Robert Serry, confirmed on Wednesday that he has received requests from Palestinian Authority (PA) officials to join 13 international conventions and treaties. The treaties include the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture, and the one against corruption.
According to Ibrahim Khraishi, the PA's ambassador to the UN, the Authority is eligible to join up to 550 international treaties and conventions, including the International Criminal Court.
Currently, the PA is a member of many UN organizations, but is accorded non-member observer status. The PA's applications seek to upgrade the Authority to full membership.