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Lawmakers Renew Threat to Cut Off Aid to Palestinians

Lawmakers said Monday that the Palestinians should think twice about their bid to gain recognition at the United Nations, urging the Palestinian Authority to “reverse course” and get back to the negotiation table.

Speaking at a gathering of Congressmen and leaders of Jewish organizations outside the United Nations headquarters in New York, Rep. Gary Ackerman, member of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, stressed that “There may need to be a total cutoff of all aid to the Palestinians for pursuing this course of action which is very dangerous and ill advised.”

“If they’re willing to consider putting their future in the hands of the United Nations, perhaps they should think about how much aid their friends at the United Nations will provide to accompany whatever meaningless, one-sided UN resolution they might pass,” said Ackerman.

“They should think twice, reverse course and get back to the negotiating table where Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu awaits them,” he concluded.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ actions a counter-productive publicity stunt, saying he is not interested in peace. “They [the Palestinians] have not been forced into this position, and the circumstances are not beyond their control. They have chosen to discontinue negotiations with Israel and pursue a counter-productive publicity stunt.” she said.

“Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] speech made clear he’s not interested in peace. Peacemakers are not obstinate, cynical, incendiary, and inflammatory. Peacemakers take constructive – not destructive – actions toward the goal of peace.”

Lowey suggested Abbas’ actions warrant a strong U.S. response. “His action cross a line and should lead to a reevaluation of U.S. assistance for the Palestinian Authority,” she said.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. Administration is still waiting for the Palestinians’ “official response”, despite comments made by members of the Palestinian delegation that suggest the Quartet’s proposal does not meet their demands.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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