Posted on May 22, 2006 in Press Releases

‘A failed-state in Palestine is not in the interests of the U.S.’

WASHINGTON – In response to the worsening Palestinian humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Arab American Institute (AAI) urges Congress to reject the measures included in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act (House Resolution 4681). The legislation calls for severe restrictions on the ability of the United States to provide aid to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), requires a review of current Palestinian-related United Nations aid programs.

Some quick facts on the impending Palestinian financial crisis, according to a recent World Bank report:

    -Unemployment has doubled to nearly 40% percent, and 2/3 of the population is living below the poverty level

    -Personal incomes are likely to drop 30% this year

    -The economy has decreased by 27%

As the House of Representatives is set to vote HR 4681 today, and on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting with President Bush, AAI requests that members of the House of Representatives express their individual concerns about the legislation, on the record.

AAI believes that restricting humanitarian aid to the Palestinians will do nothing to promote United States policy in the region and will further erode America’s already grave image problems.

AAI welcomes the decision by the Middle East’s ‘Quartet’ to send humanitarian aid to the Palestinians through NGOs and urges rapid action by others in this regard.

“A failed-state in Palestine is not in the interests of the U.S. We must foster civil society and help build infrastructure. The way to peace is not through poverty and human suffering,” says AAI President James Zogby. “Our country’s longstanding record of humanitarianism should not be forgotten when it comes to the Palestinians. As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visits our country, it is more important than ever that members of Congress reflect the compassionate and charitable nature of their constituents.”

 

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