In an expected but nonetheless unbelievable move, the US Senate passed resolution 185 late Tuesday, which states that if the Palestinian Authority goes ahead with its plan to seek unilateral recognition as a state, the US would suspend its financial aid.
The resolution, backed by 87 senators, reasons that US policy is committed to a two-state solution through negotiations and thus any unilateral action by the Palestinians is counterproductive. As the resolution states:
Reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, reaffirming opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence, and declaring that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid.
This is a ridiculously insulting double standard. Israel has been taking unilateral actions for decades with impunity, actions which have drastically changed facts on the ground and continue to undermine the very notion of negotiations. Can you imagine the US making aid to Israel contingent on anything it does? On the contrary, the US has offered to sell more and more weapons to Israel in exchange for basic steps like stopping to build settlements in the West Bank for a few months.
Threatening the Palestinians for “absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations” is absurd when it is clear Israel not only lacks faith, but takes unabashed and at times highly provocative steps to continue taking as much land as it wants with no regard for how a viable Palestinian state could ever be realized.
The fact is, someone should pass a resolution against the US government for acting “unilaterally” towards Israelis and Palestinians: when the former takes unilateral actions, the US reacts with “deep disappointment,” but when the latter does, their funding is threatened.
If the US wants to be an authority on what is acceptable behavior for furthering the peace process, it should be a tiny bit more evenhanded in its approach.