In response to the inclusion of the Taylor Force Act in the omnibus spending bill for 2018, H.E. Dr. Husam Zomlot, Head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States said that halting aid to the Palestinian Authority as a tool for a politically-motivated financial pressure does not work, and severely damages the prospects for peace in the Middle East. The bill, he said, rewards the illegal Israeli occupation and ongoing violations of human rights, while simultaneously punishing the Palestinian Authority, which is the only agency committed to peace and nonviolence, and undermines the American-Palestinian bilateral relationship and decades of U.S. investments in the two-state solution.
He further added that Congress’ bias is flagrantly obvious, targeting a stipend program that provides dignity and education for children and families of the victims of occupation, and security for both sides, while turning a blind eye towards Israel’s daily violations of U.S. policy and international law. To mention only a few, Israel’s ruling party (Likud) anti-peace decision to annex the occupied West Bank, the unprecedented rise in illegal colonial settlement activities, the alarming human rights abuses, including the illegal blockade of 2 million people in Gaza as a collective punishment measure, illegal house demolitions, and torturing and imprisonment of Palestinian children.
The Taylor Force Act represents the most recent effort in this 30 year old trend of legislations that deliberately targets the Palestinian people. Congress has designated the PLO as a terrorist organization since 1987 to date, despite the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel’s recognition of the PLO, and the numerous bilateral agreements with the United States.
The ongoing bias against Palestinians in Congress is not irreversible, we have taken notice of the principled and brave members of Congress who have raised concerns over the Taylor Force Act. Also, we are inspired by recent efforts to promote Palestinian children’s rights included in H.R. 4391 Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act introduced by the courageous Rep. Betty McCollum to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detentions and mistreatment of Palestinian children.
H.E. Dr. Zomlot concluded that Congresswoman McCollum and other honorable members in the House and the Senate make us hopeful that the future will be more in line with the great US principles and commitment to universal values of peace, equality and human rights for all.