WASHINGTON — J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams issued the following statement concerning “holds” placed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on FY2012 funds for US training of Palestinian security forces, and Palestinian civil society and humanitarian projects benefiting Israel’s security:
“Chairman Ros-Lehtinen has once again threatened shared US and Israeli security interests by trying to prevent Palestinian security forces from getting the training they need to cooperate effectively with Israeli forces,” said Williams. “There is only one party that stands to benefit from hamstringing Israeli and Palestinian security cooperation in the West Bank, and that is Hamas.
“Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s hold also targets US-funded accountable governance, civil society, infrastructure and education programs that benefit the Palestinian people, which Israeli defense and security officials have argued helps prevent violence and promote moderate Palestinian leadership. In December 2011, the Israeli government itself issued a public statement inviting the release of a Congressional hold led by Ros-Lehtinen on the corresponding FY2011 funds. Ros-Lehtinen nonetheless maintained the hold until Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rightfully decided to release the funds despite the Chairman’s objections.
“Chairman Ros-Lehtinen is again undermining the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to push back against extremism by building the institutions of modern statehood,” added Williams. “Her hold also makes conditions on the ground less conducive to a two-state resolution to the conflict, thereby jeopardizing Israel’s future as a secure, democratic and Jewish homeland. It is ultimately Israel that pays the greatest price when American politicians look to score political points by advocating policies that many in Israel’s own security establishment consider to be corrosive to Israeli security.”