Senator Rand Paul introduced the “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015” on Wednesday, which would halt U.S. aid to Palestinians, until they withdraw their request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), in order to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
Paul released a statement saying that under the current U.S. law, “America is prohibited from assisting the Palestinian Authority if it seeks ICC claims against Israel.”
“Certainly groups that threaten Israel cannot be allies of the U.S.” said Paul. “I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure this President and this Congress stop treating Israel’s enemies as American allies.”
Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas requested to join the ICC on December 31, with the intent of investigating Israel’s use of force during the summer of 2014.
Palestine’s bid to join the ICC was submitted just one day after it pushed for an early vote from the United Nations on a resolution that would recognize Palestinian statehood, and end Israeli occupation by 2017. The resolution failed by one vote, and there is speculation that Palestine wanted it to fail, so that they would still be able to join the ICC.
After Palestine submitted its request to join the ICC, the U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke released a statement saying that the United States was “deeply troubled” by Palestine’s “escalatory step,” and that it would not “achieve any of the outcomes most Palestinians have long hoped to see for their people.”
Paul’s statement argued that while the U.S. is “deeply troubled,” the Obama administration “has not committed to taking any actions and appears disinclined to cut off aid” thus far.
“It is up to the new Republican-led Congress to move on its own so that the President does not once again circumvent clear funding restrictions,” said Paul. “We are currently sending roughly $400 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority.“