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U.S. Senator proposes legislation that would punish Palestine for seeking justice

U.S. Senator proposes legislation that would punish Palestine for seeking justice

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky speaking at the 2014 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. | Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky speaking at the 2014 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. | Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), signed several international conventions in an attempt to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on December 31 and the United States believes the move is counterproductive.

In response to the move by the PA, United States senator, Rand Paul, introduced the Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015 on Jan. 7. The legislation would freeze U.S. aid to the PA until it withdraws its request to join the ICC. Under current U.S. law, America is prohibited from assisting the Palestinian Authority if it seeks ICC claims against Israel.

“It is up to the new Republican-led Congress to move on its own so that the President [Barack Obama] does not once again circumvent clear funding restrictions. We are currently sending roughly $400 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority,” Senator Paul said in a press release.

The U.S. administration has made it clear it is not happy about the Palestinian’s move to join the ICC, but did not comment on the future of Paul’s proposed legislation.

“Well, there’s obviously different implications if things are continued, so I’m not going to speculate on that. Right now what our focus is on is working with Congress in determining what the implications will be and working through the legal process of determining what the impact would be. Beyond that, that’s how we’re looking at this. We do, obviously, see benefits of the assistance that we’ve been providing to the Palestinians. There’s no question about that. But certainly, we’re going to abide by the law as well.” U.S. Spokesperson, Jen Plaski said during a press briefing on Jan. 7.

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