Rand Paul backs bill to cut US aid as UN accepts Palestinian bid to International Criminal Court
A UN treaty website notes that “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015” in compliance with procedural steps.
The move comes after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas completed the ICC documents on the last day of 2014, one day after their UN Security Council’s resolution to end Israeli occupation failed by one vote.
Israel indicated during the UNSC resolution process that it would retaliate, and it has after announcing it would withhold tax revenues collected on behalf of Palestinian authorities, approximately $120 million for this month. The annual total makes up about two-thirds of the Palestinian budget.
In recent days, the Israeli government has also stated it would cut electric power to the region for non payment.
Retaliation against Palestine has come from the United States as well with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) that would freeze about $440 million in US aid to Palestine as a response to the Palestinian ICC bid.
Paul has been seeking to bolster his standing in Jewish circles, where some leading voices remain skeptical of his isolationist foreign policy views.
This is the second time that Paul has taken the lead to eliminate aid to the Palestinians.
The senator spearheaded a bill in April to cut off U.S. aid to the PA in response to its formation of a unity government with the terror group Hamas.
Unlike the current piece of legislation, last year’s bill would have made U.S. aid contingent on the unity government explicitly recognizing Israel’s right to exist.
Doug Stafford, a senior Paul adviser, told the Free Beacon that the United States has no business funding “an anti-Israel propaganda trial” at the ICC.
“The Palestinian Authority received well over $400 million last year to peacefully interact with Israel,” Stafford said. “Currently, the Palestinian Authority is trying to join the anti-American International Criminal Court and they are claiming war crimes by Israeli soldiers. Sen. Rand Paul does not think American tax dollars should be used to fund an anti-Israel propaganda trial.”
Sen. Paul has been trying very hard to improve his image in relation to Israel since the 2012 US Presidential campaigns where his father Rep. Ron Paul was seen as falling short in terms of effort at arguing his positions.
The extreme measures, amounting to economic warfare, have been justified by the US and Israel under the familiar reason that Palestinian authorities are attempting to sabotage the peace process by seeking out membership to a peaceful international treaty which would allow them to present their multiple cases in a respected court of law. Given that the United States (nor Israel) is not a part of the ICC as it has not been ratified by the US Congress, the conflict of interest is clear. Both countries have stated that they wish for the negotiations to continue outside of this because it is not conducive to a two-state solution, rationale which seems to defy logic in light of the international law mechanisms available.
The tension in the region has been increasing after multiple isolated incidents of violence on both sides of the border and a curious incident where rocks were thrown at US officials and their security by Israelis. The incident reportedly included the US security forces “brandishing” guns at the Israelis, though it is unclear exactly what happened. This was disputed by many and there were also reports that the Israeli crowd had weapons including clubs and axes.