JVP Statement on Proposed Amendment to the National Defense Authorization
Jewish Voice for Peace urges the Senate to reject a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
[OAKLAND - December 3, 2012] Jewish Voice for Peace urges the Senate to reject a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which seeks to punish the Palestinians for their victory at the United Nations where Palestine was upgraded to Non-Member Observer Status. This amendment is potentially dangerous because it is bi-partisan and is attached to the NDAA, a bill that the Senate must pass to fund the Defense Department.
The amendment would force the cutoff of all US aid to the Palestinian Authority if it should exercise its right to bring cases against Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
This right is one of the chief benefits of the UN upgrade. In fact, the wording of the amendment not only covers cases Palestine might bring, but also “…any other entity, legally recognized or otherwise, that purports to represent the interests of the Palestinian people.” Thus, the PA could lose its funding even if they themselves do not bring a case to the ICC.
The amendment also demands the closure of all US offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) unless the President tells Congress that "the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel." This wording not only leaves unclear what constitute “direct and meaningful negotiations,” it also completely ignores the obstacles, especially ongoing settlement expansion, that Israel has put up in order to make it politically impossible for the Palestinians to enter such talks.
This amendment would put enormous pressure on the Palestinians to forgo their rights and enter into talks only on Israel’s terms. It is a mandate for punishing the Palestinians for pursuing a non-violent way to move their cause forward while rewarding Israel for its intransigence and unilateral actions.
Jewish Voice for Peace calls on our Senators to reject this punitive and unjust amendment, and for the President to make it clear that he will veto the bill if it contains such an amendment.