Congressional appropriators warn Abbas on incitement


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top congressional appropriators told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that Congress “remains committed” to conditions for continued funding of the P.A., including controlling incitement.

“This aid is predicated on the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to countering terrorism and pursuing a comprehensive peace with Israel,” said the letter sent Thursday signed by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the committee and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of its foreign operations subcommittee.

“U.S. law also clearly stipulates that the Palestinian Authority must act to counter the incitement of violence against Israelis in order to continue receiving U.S. assistance,” the letter said, adding: “We remain resolute in our commitment to these conditions.”

The United States grants the Palestinian Authority about $500 million in assistance annually.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Abbas of stoking tensions in Jerusalem in recent weeks that have resulted in a number of fatal terrorist attacks, including this weeks attack on a synagogue which killed five people.

“The use of degrading images in Fatah or P.A. produced media as well as inflammatory language used by you and other Palestinian leaders undermine the objectives of our support and threaten to further destabilize an already highly volatile situation,” the letter from the lawmakers said.

Abbas condemned this week’s synagogue murders but has also accused Israel of “declaring war” for temporarily shutting down the Temple Mount, a site holy to Jews and Muslims.

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