"I don't know what the word in Arabic is for ‘rathole,' but it does appear that the usefulness for our funding is disappearing," said Mark Steven Kirk, R-Ill., adding that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' authority has been reduced to "alderman for East Ramallah."
- CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS March 6, 2008 - 5:00 p.m.
The House Appropriations State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing challenged Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte's request for additional funding for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' government and placed a hold on $150 million in economic support for the Palestinians.
Citing a recent Arabic TV interview in which Abbas did not support Israel's right to exist and praised the PLO for the training of radical Islamic Hezbollah fighters in the past, Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. concluded, "Clearly, Abu Mazen's [Abbas' other name] comments cast doubt on his commitment to the peace process."
Dave Weldon, R-Fla, responded to Negroponte's description of Abbas as a "force for peace," countering, "Hamas wants to destroy Israel today, and Abbas and the Palestinian Authority want to destroy Israel tomorrow."
With the continued barrage of rockets from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians in the south and the murders of Jewish students studying the Bible in a Jerusalem Yeshivah this week, some in Congress are awakening to the misuse of U.S. funds by a corrupt, non-functional, and less than trustworthy Palestinian Authority government.