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New Bill Would Cut Funding For Palestinians If They Join UN

REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

The new omnibus bill released Wednesday would cut funding for Palestinians if they seek membership with the United Nations or pursue action against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Palestinian Authority (PA), the governing body of the Palestinian territories, risks losing its financial assistance from the United States if it pursues action against Israel in the International Criminal Court or obtains membership in the United Nations without conferring with Israel, according to the new omnibus bill put forward by the House Committee on Appropriations Wednesday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas inked PA’s membership to the ICC in April of this year in what is an apparent attempt to pursue war crimes prosecution against Israel. Israel is not a member of the ICC, however Israeli citizens could face criminal prosecution for alleged crimes in Palestinian areas.

The International Criminal Court, based in the Hague in the Netherlands, is an international organization which was “established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community,” including genocide and war crimes. The ICC is governed by the Rome Statute which established the court in 1998 and went into force in 2002.

As of 2012, the Palestinian Authority sits in the U.N. as a “non-member observer state” which essentially allows limited participation in the U.N. General Assembly.

The omnibus bill also “prohibits funds for Hamas,” a listed foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State. Hamas currently is responsible for governing the Gaza strip portion of the Palestinian territories. The bill additionally includes a provision that would halt funding unless action is taken to stop incitement for violence against Israelis.

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