April 2006 Postcard

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I am writing to you because I believe that the passage of H.R. 4681 and Concurrent Resolution 79 would be bad for both America and the Palestinians. The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act 4681, introduced after the recent Palestinian legislative election which resulted in a Hamas victory, goes far beyond reiterating the current U.S. ban on direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority; it also calls for many troubling provisions that would punish and isolate the Palestinian people for exercising their right to vote.

Our support of democracy cannot be conditional on our liking the way that democratic elections turn out. If we cut off aid to Palestinians, we will lose their friendship and they will lose their hope.  

How does one deal with the loss of all hope by the Palestinians, and the consequences thereof? Build a wall? Build more settlements? Keep their sales and customs taxes? Bulldoze their property and playgrounds? Assassinate their leaders? That’s the Israeli way.

Stop talking to them? Cut off all aid? Starve them to death? That should not be the American way. 

altPalestinians carry bags of donated flour in Gaza City Feb. 28, 2006. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced H.R. 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, in February 2006. Another version of the bill, Concurrent Resolution 79, is also gaining signatures in the Senate. These resolutions could restrict U.S. humanitarian aid to Palestinians; designate Palestinian territory as a “terrorist sanctuary”; trigger restrictions on U.S. exports; and even prohibit Palestinian diplomacy or representation in the U.S.
Cuts in aid will not punish Hamas, they will only punish the Palestinian people. Special Middle East envoy James D. Wolfensohn has warned international donors that Palestinians are on the brink of an economic disaster. This is not the time to walk away from the Palestinian people and add to their misery. It’s time to reach out and help both sides reach a just and lasting peace.