House committee set to pass tougher conditions for PA aid


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A House committee is expected to advance a bill that would and toughen conditions for funding for the Palestinians.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee is likely to approve the measure, which also mandates moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, on Wednesday.

The State Department financing bill would make funding for the PA conditional on the Obama administration proving that "no member of Hamas or any other foreign terrorist organization serves in any policy position in a ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority" and that "the Palestinian Authority has halted all anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority-controlled electronic and print media and in schools, mosques, and other institutions it controls, and is replacing these materials, including textbooks, with materials that promote tolerance, peace, and coexistence with Israel."

The new language, drafted by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the committee’s chairwoman, would broaden existing U.S. policy of not dealing with PA governments that include Hamas ministers to include lower-level employees, and would make the provable exculpation of incitement a condition for funding. It also limits the president’s ability to waive the policy for national security reasons.

The bill would remove the waiver that has allowed successive presidents since Bill Clinton to delay moving the embassy to Jerusalem, setting a Jan. 1, 2014 deadline for the move. The bill must pass the entire House of Representatives before facing reconciliation with the U.S. Senate version; the House’s tougher provisions on the Palestinians and Jerusalem are unlikely to survive reconciliation.

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