On Thursday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HFAC) advanced legislation condemning the Palestinian Authority (PA) for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement, and urged the Palestinian leadership put a stop to it. Additionally, Kay Granger (R-TX) and Nita Lowey (D-NY), two leaders of a subcommittee that is responsible for authorizing foreign funding, wrote a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warning him that the PA could lose US funding if he doesn’t halt incitement.
At a hearing preceding the HFAC mark-up of the new legislation, lawmakers and experts agreed that current violence is a result of Palestinian incitement and a culture of hatred. HFAC Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) stated that “this culture of hate is being cultivated by Palestinian leaders.” Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) similarly asserted that the wave of terror is a product of years of anti-Israel propaganda and indoctrination promoted by PA leaders and institutions, while Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) said that incitement within official channels breeds violence.
Former Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams accused the PA of “teaching generations of Palestinians to hate Jews by demonizing and dehumanizing them,” while David Makovsky, a former advisor to Secretary Kerry, testified that since 1991, 269 people have been killed as a result of allegations that Israel is trying to upend the status quo at the Temple Mount. These accusations, he stated, are “equivalent to yelling fire in a crowded theater” given the role that they “have played in provoking past violence.” Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury official, explained that WAFA, a news agency controlled by the PLO, is at the forefront of the campaign to spread lies and foment hate, and that social media sites claiming affiliation with Abbas’ Fatah party have incited violence.
The Congressmen’s and expert’s statements echo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declarations that incitement and spurious claims about Israel’s intentions on the Temple Mount are to blame for the recent surge in violence, something which he re-emphasized on Wednesday during his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin. Kerry has also called on President Abbas to halt incitement.
Eleven Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.), sent a letter yesterday to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing their concern over Iran’s recent test launch of a ballistic missile.
In addition to Cardin, who serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Schumer, who is expected to become the leader of Senate Democrats in 2017, the letter’s signatories included Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Cardin and Schumer were the only members of the group to oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.
The decision to add a provision to the nuclear agreement that lifts the conventional arms embargo against Iran after five years and the ballistic missile embargo after eight years previously caused Bennet, Blumenthal, and Coons to express reservations about the deal. Blumenthal, Coons, Booker, and Wyden all mentioned significant objections to aspects of the agreement in their statements of support.
Iran initially announced that it was scheduling ballistic missile tests in August and carried out the launches earlier this month. Last week, Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, indicated that the tests violated Security Council resolutions banning the Islamic Republic from ballistic missile development.
Yesterday, the United States, Britain, France, and Germany sent a letter to the United Nations sanctions committee urging it to take “appropriate action” against Iran for its “serious violation” of the ban on ballistic missile development. Earlier that day, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “the nuclear deal will be rendered void,” if there is any attempt to reimpose sanctions for any reason on Iran. (via TheTower.org)