U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the Administration's decision to release $500 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The Administration's decision to give $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, with the possibility of an additional $200 million in the near future, is irresponsible and clearly sends the wrong message to Americans and our allies in the region.
"With the Palestinian Authority's unilateral actions at the UN and its reconciliation efforts with Hamas, the U.S. could have used this as an opportunity to leverage our assistance to demonstrate to Abu Mazen that he needs to stop pursuing policies that undermine the peace process. Just last week Abu Mazen stated that there is not much difference between his and Hamas' policies and argued against that group's designation as a terrorist organization. During the President's visit to the West Bank last week, rockets were once again fired from Gaza into Israel illustrating that Abu Mazen is either incapable or unwilling to pressure Hamas into abandoning its terrorist tactics against Israel. How can the U.S. and the democratic Jewish state of Israel view Abu Mazen as a trusted partner for peace when both his words and his actions indicate otherwise?
"Abu Mazen needs to realize that there are repercussions for his actions and that he will not be rewarded for his malfeasance with millions of hardworking American taxpayer dollars that he considers an entitlement for the PA. With our nation facing its own financial crisis at home with runaway deficits and an ever expanding national debt, committing this amount of money unconditionally to the PA is reckless and an example of misplaced priorities."
NOTE: During the 112th Congress, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen placed a hold on funds for the Palestinian Authority. In addition, last year Ros-Lehtinen was the author of H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011, which would cut off funding to any UN entity that recognizes a Palestinian state or upgrades in any way the status of the Palestinian observer mission at the UN prior to the achievement of a complete and final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.