Surprise: Obama punts the 'Palestinians'But he's not committing to vetoing any of the pending legislation that would punish the 'Palestinians.' So does Congress need veto-proof majorities? Your guess is as good as mine (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Questions about repercussions are “better directed at the Congress than at us,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday. She said the State Department is still trying to release $495 million in pending funds for fiscal year 2012 that were held up following the Palestinians' failed effort last year to become a full member of the U.N.
“We will also continue to try to support the Palestinian Authority, because this money supports their ... ability to administer the territories, provide security, and take care of the needs of the Palestinian people, who we continue to believe need our support, need the international community's support.”
And White House spokesman Josh Earnest stopped short of issuing a veto threat against congressional efforts to block the aid. He told reporters that the administration does not have any information to share about “any specific actions that are being contemplated.”
“The reason for that is simply that our aid to the Palestinians is an important part of our relationship,” Earnest said. “And we believe that we can – the United States can and should play a constructive role in facilitating negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
The Senate is expected to vote next week on bipartisan legislation that would cut off U.S. aid if that happens as an amendment to the pending Defense authorization bill, a Senate aide said.
The bill, championed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would also shutter the PLO’s Washington office unless the president determines that the Palestinians are engaged in “meaningful negotiations” with Israel.
The senators said Thursday they did not want to immediately terminate aid in order to preserve the chance for a negotiated two-state solution with Israel.
“It's a very clear message to the Palestinians: the choice is yours,” Menendez said. “We could have pre-empted that choice. The choice is yours. If you return to a negotiation, we're good.”Come on - what are the odds that Obama doesn't certify that the 'Palestinians' are involved in 'meaningful negotiations'? There's not a chance in hell that Obama won't certify that.
The question is whether any of the tougher measures pending in the House can get past the Senate.
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