U.S. Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday introduced the Stand with Israel Act of 2014. The Kentucky Republican’s legislation halts all U.S. aid to the Palestinian government until they agree to a ceasefire and recognize the right of Israel to exist.
The move comes after Palestine's major political party, Fatah, signed a unity agreement last week with a rival faction, Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel both recognize as a terrorist group.
In a statement on his website, Senator Paul says the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement brings both danger and opportunity to the peace process.
“Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end. That being said, the new unity government has a chance to put itself on the record as clearly believing in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, as Israel recognizes the right of a Palestinian state to exist,” remarks Paul. “It should also declare an immediate and lasting ceasefire to enable negotiations. If that is accomplished swiftly, the peace process can move forward with two willing partners.”
The bill would cut aid after five weeks unless the Palestinians renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The Obama administration has said it is prepared to suspend U.S. aid to the Palestinians, which amounts to $400 million annually.