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Ackerman, Boustany team on P.A. support

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A Jewish and an Arab-American congressman are seeking co-signers for a letter urging greater U.S. funding for Palestinian Authority reforms.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the Jewish chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee, and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) initiated the letter.

“We are writing to both commend you for your efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by convening an international meeting this fall and to respectfully suggest that additional measures by the United States in the near term will be necessary to preserve the possibility of success,” says the letter circulating in the House. “U.S. assistance should be used – and should be designed to leverage international support – for financial and personnel reforms in the Palestinian Authority, for housing or other labor intensive projects, for the effective operation of a Palestinian police force and an independent Palestinian judiciary, and for long-term economic development and job creation programs.”

An array of dovish pro-Israel groups, including Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum and Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, have lobbied strongly for the letter, as have Churches for Middle East Peace, a coalition of mainline churches; the Arab American Institute and the American Task Force on Palestine.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee backs the letter, saying it supports such funds as long as they are directed to specific projects.

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