Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Leaders Lobby for New Congressional Letter Urging Continued Palestinian Aid

September 16, 2011

WASHINGTON—J Street’s top leaders will be on Capitol Hill today to lobby in support of a new Congressional letter urging President Barack Obama to work with Congress to ensure that U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) is maintained as a matter that is “in the essential strategic interest of Israel and the United States.”

Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Peter Welch (D-VT) authored the letter, released Tuesday, which states that cutting US assistance to the Palestinians “would diminish prospects for peace and regional stability in the Middle East.” The initiative comes in response to legislative efforts to cut Palestinian aid should the Palestinians apply for membership in the United Nations later this month, as expected.

The Price-Welch letter cites American and Israeli security experts, including the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, in drawing a direct link between U.S. assistance to the P.A. and Israel’s security. It reads: “Simply put, the suspension or ending of U.S. aid could undermine the very foundations of a future Palestinian state, undoing the progress that has been made in recent years toward strengthening the P.A.’s security and governance institutions. It would increase the likelihood of instability and violence, in turn threatening Israel’s security.”

J Street’s leadership will meet with Members of Congress today, as part of a leadership summit which drew the organization’s national, grassroots and rabbinic leadership from across the country to Washington for two days of meetings with political leaders, diplomats, policy analysts and advocates.