Congressional panel slams PA for ‘incitement to violence’

US House Foreign Affairs Committee calls on State Department to monitor Palestinian Authority for ‘official incitement’

The House Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Congress unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday condemning the Palestinians for inciting violence against Israel.

During a committee hearing titled “Words Have Consequences: Palestinian Authority Incitement to Violence,” the lawmakers also called on the State Department to “monitor and publish information on all official incitement by the Palestinian Authority against Jews and the State of Israel.”

The bipartisan resolution was written by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R).

“The escalation of violence against Israelis is praised, encouraged, and even fueled by Palestinian Authority officials,” committee chairman Ed Royce (R) said upon passage of the resolution. “This resolution rightly condemns this incitement and the outbreak of violence, and expresses support for those who are working to encourage peace and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians,” committee chairman Ed Royce (R) says upon passage of the resolution. “It is critical that we stand by our ally Israel at this challenging time.”

Palestinian attacks on Israelis have become a daily occurrence in recent weeks, amid tensions over the Temple Mount, a Jerusalem site holy to Jews and Muslims. Driving the tensions in part have been Palestinian allegations that Israel is planning to alter the regulations at the site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and allow Jews to pray there. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has himself leveled such charges, which Netanyahu vehemently denies.

While Abbas hasn’t openly endorsed the attacks, he hasn’t condemned them either, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused him of inciting violence by calling for protests against Israel. At the UN last month, Abbas accused Israel of sending “extremists” into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Last week, he alleged Israel was executing Palestinians in cold blood, and cited as an example a Palestinian teenager who had in fact perpetrated a terror attack, was alive, and was being treated in an Israeli hospital.

During a September speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas hailed Palestinian rioters on the Temple Mount, saying any blood spilled in defense of the holy site was “pure.”

“The al-Aqsa Mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours as well. They have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet; we won’t allow them to do that,” he added.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution came a day after two top congressional appropriators, a Republican and a Democrat, warned Abbas in a letter that US funds were contingent on tamping down incitement during the current wave of violence.

“We implore you to refrain from highly-inflammatory language and to redouble your efforts to uphold nonviolence,” wrote Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-NY, the committee and subcommittee’s top Democrat.

“As you are well aware, any US assistance generously provided by the American people to the Palestinian Authority is predicated on the PA’s adherence to the precepts of the Oslo Accords as well as countering terrorism and the incitement of violence.”

The lawmakers also urged Abbas to resume direct negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The United States currently funnels about $500 million annually to the Palestinian Authority. Like all foreign funding, the money is authorized by the Foreign Operations subcommittee.

JTA contributed to this report.

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