The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved two amendments by Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) as part of the Fiscal Year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
Coats introduced an amendment to prohibit funding to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and any other United Nations (U.N.) body that grants membership to the Palestinian Authority. The Coats amendment was adopted unanimously, which ensures the administration cannot provide UNESCO the $119 million requested in its budget.
"This amendment makes it clear to UNESCO and the U.N., clear to Israel, clear to the Palestinian Authority and clear to the rest of the world that the United States will not tolerate attempts to admit the Palestinian Authority and undercut efforts for a lasting peace in the Middle East," Coats said.
On October 31, 2011, UNESCO voted to grant membership to the Palestinian Authority even though it is not a country. The United States is obligated under law to terminate all funding to UNESCO and any other U.N. body that admits the Palestinian Authority. The Coats legislation reinforces Congressional support of current law prohibiting funding to UNESCO.
Coats also joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to introduce an amendment to cut funding to Pakistan until the country releases Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani informant who helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden. Dr. Afridi was charged with treason by the Pakistani authorities and sentenced to 33 years in jail.
"Sentencing this doctor to 33 years in prison for helping the United States find the most wanted terrorist in the world is outrageous," Coats said. "Dr. Afridi should be applauded for his courageous actions. The United States should withhold any funds to Pakistan until the man who helped us bring Osama bin Laden to justice is released."
The Graham-Coats amendment will cut funding to Pakistan by $33 million, one million dollars for each year of the prison sentence, until the doctor is released.
The Fiscal Year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Senate Appropriations bill passed by 29-1 with both Coats amendments included.