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

IT Administrator - Graduate

£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Looking for work in Secondary Schools?

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

Year 5 Teacher

£3000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wor...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The colours of autumn leaves are among the many pleasures of the coming season  

In Sickness and in Health: As autumn arrives, more of us should wear high-vis clothes

Rebecca Armstrong
 

Daily catch-up: Scottish polls, canvass returns and arguments. And Top 10 Tweets

John Rentoul
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week