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State Department: Congress to Lead on Aid Cuts After Palestinians Defy U.S. on ICC Move

The State Department on Monday told reporters that Congress would take the lead in any decision on cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the wake of a string of decisions – ranging from an effort to secure recognition from the United Nations Security Council to signing papers to ascend to the International Criminal Court (ICC) – that likely violate U.S. aid conditions prohibiting such moves. Statements from lawmakers blasting the moves last week underscored a bipartisan consensus that Ramallah is likely to face repercussions for the gambits.

The Palestinian moves have been criticized by Foggy Bottom in recent days – following a failed statehood bid last Monday, a State Department spokesperson blasted the resolution for “set[ting] arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.” A statement released by the State Department days later warned that Palestinian moves at the ICC “will badly damage the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace.”

he New York Times had last week quoted Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, noting that in the aftermath of the ICC move, “There is no question mark as to what are the consequences, that there will be immediate American and Israeli financial sanctions” and that “[t]hose sanctions will gradually become more and more crippling, and this could indeed be the beginning of the end of the P.A.” The discussion revolves around some $400 million in aid in to Ramallah that congressional law conditions on the Palestinians’ “acceptance of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements,” which includes a commitment to resolve outstanding issues through direct negotiations.

[Photo: NewsFromUkraine/ YouTube]