Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and more than a dozen of his Republican colleagues in the Senate signed a letter on Thursday condemning President Joe Biden’s administration for planning to send millions in financial aid to Palestinians.
"We write with concern regarding plans by the Biden-Harris administration to pour hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars into territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas,” reads the letter. "We call on you to halt these expenditures until the State Department accounts for statutory restrictions and remedies known deficiencies in the distribution of such assistance, which have for years promoted and facilitated terrorism against Americans and Israelis."
The Associated Press reported this week that the Biden administration is quietly increasing financial assistance for Palestinians, offering up to $75 million in economic support payments.
“We continue to believe that American support for the Palestinian people, including financial support, it is consistent with our values. It is consistent with our interests. Of course, it is consistent with the interests of the Palestinian people. It’s also consistent with the interests of our partner, Israel, and we’ll have more to say on that going forward,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
"It is unacceptable that the Biden-Harris administration would seek to dampen public debate over these vast sums of general assistance,” the letter, which is addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, continues. “Since 1993, the U.S. government provided more than $6.3 billion to the Palestinians with the aims of, first, advancing the Palestinians' capacity to build a state and, second, insulating and distancing Palestinian governance from terrorism. Measured by the degree to which they have achieved those aims, U.S. programs have not just failed but have been counterproductive, with the money facilitating terrorist incitement and making its way to terrorists. In just the last few weeks, U.S. government documents and announcements by the Palestinians have made clear those failings were systematic and structural.
"If a Palestinian state was established today it would be a failed state, lacking political institutions, economic viability, a monopoly on the use of force by internal groups, and a non-terrorist government capable of exerting sovereignty over all claimed territories. PA President Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four year term in 2005 but no subsequent presidential election has taken place, the Palestinian economy suffers from endemic corruption and requires outside intervention to function, Palestinian officials routinely blame violence and rocket attacks against Israelis on groups ostensibly beyond their control, and control over Palestinian areas is fractured between Fatah and Hamas.
"Meanwhile the PA has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars every year to reward Palestinian terrorists and their families, with increased rewards in proportion to increased casualties. Among the beneficiaries of these so-called ‘pay-for-slay' programs was the family of Bashar Masalha, who in 2016 stabbed 11 people near Tel Aviv and murdered 28-year old U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force."
The letter is signed by Sens. Cruz, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Todd Young and Mike Braun of Indiana, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Steve Daines of Montana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
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