Top Republicans with oversight on foreign affairs are blocking the Biden administration from sending specific aid to the Palestinians, two congressional sources confirmed to The Hill on Friday.
The move represents an effort to carry on the hard-line policy of the former Trump administration which eliminated all funding for Palestinians.
Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking members of their respective committees on foreign affairs, issued an “info hold” on $75 million in economic and development assistance, according to one of the congressional sources.
The funding is part of an estimated $235 million in total assistance to the Palestinians that was announced earlier this week by the Biden administration.
The move by Risch and McCaul is expected to delay delivery of the money, but a congressional aide didn’t expect it to have a lasting impact.
The decision was first reported by The Jerusalem Post.
The move was criticized by the left-leaning, progressive pro-Israel group J Street, which called it “punitive and performatively anti-Palestinian.”
Congressional Republicans are doubling down on the cruel policies of the Trump administration by putting a hold on the resumption of critical aid to the Palestinian people. The Biden administration should disburse this aid as instructed by law — as past administrations have done after due consultation with lawmakers and when faced with similar bad-faith abuse of that process,” J Street’s President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
The offices of Risch and McCaul did not provide comment on the hold, but the lawmakers issued a statement Wednesday in response criticizing the Biden administration for restarting funds that were severed under the previous administration.
“Resuming assistance to the West Bank and Gaza without concessions from the Palestinian Authority (PA) undermines U.S. interests,” the lawmakers said in the statement.
They criticized the administration for not doing more to ensure that the Palestinian Authority is no longer paying salaries to families of Palestinians convicted or accused of terrorism. They refer to that program as “pay to slay.”
“The Biden Administration should use all available leverage to secure behavior changes from the PA, including ending terror payments. We will continue to scrutinize every proposed program to ensure the administration’s actions are in lockstep with the Taylor Force Act and in compliance with all …
Author : Red State Observer
Source : Red State Observer : GOP LAWMAKERS BLOCK BIDEN ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIANS