Leading article: Unjust punishment of the Palestinians

Share

Heavy-handed threats to cut aid to the Palestinians if Mahmoud Abbas went ahead with a bid for UN statehood were bad enough. That the US Congress is now putting such bullying tactics into practice is shameful.

As this newspaper reveals today, just days after Mr Abbas lodged his application at the UN, Congress is blocking $200m worth of aid to the impoverished region. The move should be universally condemned.

The most compelling argument is one of common decency. While $200m may be chicken feed in the context of Washington's multi-billion-dollar aid budget, such sums go a long way in the impoverished Palestinian territories. The funding block will hit a string of vital state-building efforts – from the supplies for the World Food Programme, to teacher training schemes, to major infrastructure projects.

If the quality of life of ordinary Palestinians is not sufficient reason for censure, there is also a broader issue of regional stability. Anything which stirs up frustrations by undermining public services or, worse, which directly jeopardises the funding of the security services is playing with fire. And not just for the Palestinians. Any increase in lawlessness in the West Bank has an immediate impact on Israel.

Members of Congress may fail to grasp the impact of their actions, but the point is not lost on either the White House or the Israeli establishment. The US President has so far distanced himself from the aid issue; and earlier in the summer no less a figure than the Israeli Prime Minister urged congressional supporters not to block aid to the Palestinians.

Apparently the message is yet to get through. Worryingly, hints that the Jewish vote may be wavering from its traditional Democratic position leave the US President even less room to manoeuvre than usual. No matter. Both the White House and Israel itself must put every possible pressure on Congress to abandon a punitive stance that is counterproductive and cruel in equal measure.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Advisors

£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the Labour leadership election hasn’t yet got to grips with why the party lost

John Rentoul
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific