J Street Welcomes Clinton’s Decision to Disburse Palestinian Aid

April 11, 2012

WASHINGTON — J Street applauds Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decision to disburse $147 million in fiscal year 2011 economic support funds for the Palestinian people. Secretary Clinton released the funds over the objections of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), whose months-long ‘hold’ had put US-funded programs critical to Israeli security and Palestinian humanitarian needs at risk. Ros-Lehtinen’s hold jeopardized accountable governance, civil society, infrastructure, and education programs benefiting the Palestinian people, even forcing “Shara’a Simsim”– the Palestinian Sesame Street— to suspend production. Dylan Williams, J Street’s Director of Government Affairs, said of Secretary Clinton’s decision: “Secretary Clinton’s decision implements shared American and Israeli government policy concerning the need to restore funding to these governance and humanitarian programs as a matter of Israeli security. There is only one party that stood to benefit from continuing to entertain Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s hold on this assistance, and that is Hamas. Continuing to withhold these funds would have undercut the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to push back against extremism by building the institutions of modern statehood. It would also have continued to make conditions on the ground even 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 many in Israel’s own security establishment consider counterproductive.”