Funding Bill – US Threatens Palestinian Authority to Cut Funding Over ICC Investigation Support

US President Joe Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Another reason for the limitation of funds would be if “Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations”.

The $1.2 trillion funding bill approved by the US Congress on Saturday which halts funding to the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) until 2025, also threatens to limit funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it initiates an investigation against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or obtains full state membership in the United Nations.

“None of the funds appropriated under the heading Economic Support Fund’ in this Act may be made available for assistance for the Palestinian Authority, if after the date of enactment of the Act– (I) Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” the bill signed by President Joe Biden states.

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Another reason for the limitation of funds would be if “ (II) the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

The Secretary of State “may waive restriction” on this clause “if the Secretary certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national security interest of the United States, and submits a report to such Committees detailing how the waiver and the continuation of assistance would assist in furthering Middle-East peace.”

The bill, which ended the threat of a partial government shutdown, was approved with 74 votes in favor and 24 against.

War Profiteering

Besides halting funding to UNRWA, it reportedly provides $886 billion in funding for the Defense Department, including a raise for US troops.

The bill, now signed into law, comes at a time when senior UN officials have warned of imminent famine in the besieged Gaza Strip, urging immediate action to avert a humanitarian disaster.

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In a speech on the House floor on Thursday when the bill was introduced, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib reportedly accused Israel of committing “some of the most horrific crimes against humanity” in this century.

“The Israeli government has been intentionally starving the Palestinian people,” she said.

“It’s disturbing that many of my colleagues in this chamber are actively profiting financially when they vote to pass more funding for weapons and war,” Tlaib said. “Literally every bomb dropped makes them money.”

UNRWA lost millions in funding at the end of January, after dozens of countries, led by the US, suspended its financial support following allegations by Israel that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 resistance operation. Israel has yet to provide evidence for its claims.

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Over 32,400 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,490 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,787 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in the enclave.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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