WASHINGTON (JTA) — An amendment that would have penalized Palestinians for seeking non-member state status at the United Nations was not included in a defense bill that was passed by the U.S. Senate.
The National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed late Tuesday, did not include among its amendments one that would cut funding to the Palestinians should they use their upgraded U.N. status to seek charges against Israel in international courts. The amendment also would have shuttered the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington until the Palestinians returned to peace talks with Israel.
It was not clear why the amendment was not approved.
The amendment had been introduced by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Nov. 29, the same day as the vote in the U.N. General Assembly enhancing the Palestinians’ statehood status.
J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group, rallied against the amendment, with followers sending nearly 15,000 letters to senators and making close to a thousand calls.
Other amendments favored by pro-Israel groups passed, including one approving additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and one tightening Iran sanctions.