U.S. Reportedly Cuts $80m in Aid in 'Message' to Palestinians

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, September 16, 2015.Credit: AP

The U.S. cut its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority by $80 million, al-Monitor reported, in an alleged message to the Palestinians over incitement to violence amid a recent wave of terror attacks.

According to al-Monitor, the State Department notified lawmakers  of its intention to reduce economic aid for the West Bank and Gaza Strip from $370 million to $290 at the end of September - a 22% drop from the department's initial request and followed what the site described as mounting criticism from Congress about Palestinian "incitement".

"We need to dial up pressure on Palestinian officials to repudiate this violence," Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was quoted after the committee moved to issue a symbolic resolution against Palestinian incitement.

“This wave of violence isn’t some random flare-up,”  Rep. Engel said, at the hearing, “It’s the product of years and years of anti-Israel propaganda and indoctrination — some of which has been actively promoted by Palestinian Authority officials and institutions.”

The non-binding resolution passed Thursday after a hearing on Palestinian incitement says “the Palestinian Authority has not fully lived up to its prior agreements with Israel to end incitement and should do more to prepare the Palestinian people for peace with Israel.”

It “urges President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Palestinian Authority officials to discontinue all official incitement and exert influence to discourage anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian civil society.”

The hearing was convened by committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif, who said that "Given that about one-third of the Palestinian Authority’s budget is financed through foreign aid, international donors have leverage.

"They could follow the lead of the US Congress — and make direct funding of the PA off limits until the incitement stops."

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