Aid to the PA Supported By…Elliott Abrams?

This piece originally published at LobeLog

Yesterday, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearingon the future of aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Neocon all-star and convicted perjurer, Elliott Abrams

Aid to the PA is under bi-partisan attack in Congress due to the Palestinians’ campaign to somehow upgrade their standing in the United Nations. The campaign against the Palestinians, and also against the United Nations, has already gained enough momentum that yesterday’s hearing, initially to have been held in session of the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia, was upgraded to a hearing of the full Foreign Affairs committee.

Leading the charge, unsurprisingly, is Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who has introduced a bill threatening UN funding mainly, though not exclusively, over the issue of Israel and the Palestinians. But her predecessor as Chair, Howard Berman (D-CA) was absolutely blunt in saying: “I believe it is appropriate to point out that should the Palestinians pursue their unilateralist course, the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual assistance that we have given them in recent years, will likely be terminated.”

Four leading Democrats, Steve Israel (D-NY), Robert Brady (D-PA), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Steven Rothman (D-NJ) have sent a bill to the Foreign Affairs Committee which would “… prohibit Foreign Military Financing program assistance to countries that vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state in the absence of a negotiated border agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

With all this, you’d think aid to the PA was doomed, would you not?

But hold on. At the hearing, there were four witnesses, with David Makovsky of the AIPAC-created Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) being the most moderate. The other speakers were James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation, Dr. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (which, along with Heritage, are neo-conservative think-tanks, with more info available here) and neocon all-star Elliott Abrams. Continue reading

Midterms and The Middle East: What Does It Mean in the USA?

In my latest piece at the Meretz USA blog, I look at some of the interpretations out there of the mid-term elections and offer my own view of them.