Senator Rand Paul Proposes Bill That Would Halt Aid to Palestinians

The possible 2016 Republican contender calls to make U.S. aid to Palestinians contingent on new Fatah-Hamas government's recognition of Israel's right to exist.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul in Washington, June 13, 2013.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul in Washington, June 13, 2013. Reuters

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, plans to introduce a new bill calling to suspend U.S. aid to the Palestinians unless the prospective Fatah-Hamas unity government publicly recognizes Israel's right to exist, the Washington Post reported.

Once the new Palestinian government is formed following the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, Paul's bill would grant Palestinians leaders five weeks to declare a cease-fire with Israel and recognize Israel's right to exist. If they do not comply, then the U.S. would halt the annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, which runs to $400 million a year.

The bill is a reaction to last week's reconciliation between Fatah, led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip. It follows warnings by key Congressional appropriators Nita Lowey and Kay Granger about cutting off aid to the Palestinians in the wake of Abbas' warming to Hamas.

“Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist, and has used terrorist tactics to seek its end,” Paul said in a statement.

The senator is considered a leader of the so-called isolationist wing of the GOP, whose mainstream believes in a "robust" foreign policy, especially in support of Israel.

Paul's father, former Congressman Ron Paul, is considered a hardline isolationist "paleoconservative" and was known for opposing the extent of U.S. aid to foreign countries.