Building up his support in the American Jewish community to bolster his shot at the 2016 presidential election, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has sponsored a bill to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if they do not drop their bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The "Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015" is Paul's second attempt to cut off funding to the PA — last year, he sponsored the Stand With Israel Act, which would have slashed funding to the PA if they did not agree to a ceasefire and recognition of the state of Israel, the National Journal reports
This time, the move by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Dec. 31 to join the ICC, which would give the PA the ability to charge Israel with war crimes in front of the international tribunal, has triggered strong protest in the U.S., including a statement by U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power that "the ICC is of course something that we have been absolutely adamant about. I mean, this is something that really poses a profound threat to Israel," Politico reported
Paul offered the bill hours just before meeting with major Jewish GOP donors, including billionaire political contributor Sheldon Adelson.
Paul said in a press release: "Certainly groups that threaten Israel cannot be allies of the U.S. I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure this president and this Congress stop treating Israel’s enemies as American allies.
"It is up to the new Republican-led Congress to move on its own so that the president does not once again circumvent clear funding restrictions. We are currently sending roughly $400 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority," Paul said, Politico reported
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the Palestinians will join the ICC effective April 1, RT Network reported
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour confirmed that the Palestinians intend to prosecute Israel for war crimes and for building settlements on Palestinian territory.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned: "We will not let Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and officers be dragged to the International Criminal Court in The Hague," RT Network reported.
The PA's action came shortly after the U.N. Security Council voted down, by one vote, a proposal which would have granted Palestine statehood. The U.S. position is that negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel should be used to settle differences, not appeals to U.N. bodies.
Paul adviser Doug Stafford told the Washington Free Beacon
: "The Palestinian Authority received well over $400 million last year to peacefully interact with Israel. Sen. Rand Paul does not think American tax dollars should be used to fund an anti-Israel propaganda trial.”
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