Senate amendment penalizing Palestinians for U.N. status does not pass

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. Senate amendment that would have penalized Palestinians for seeking non-member state status at the United Nations was not attached to its intended law.

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The National Defense Authorization Act, passed late Tuesday, did not include among its amendments one that would cut funding to the Palestinians should they use their status, gained last week, to seek charges against Israel in international courts.

The amendment also would have shuttered the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington until the Palestinians returned to peace talks with Israel.

The amendment had been introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Nov. 29, the same day as the vote in the U.N. General Assembly enhancing the Palestinian’s statehood status.

It’s not clear why it was not approved.

J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group, rallied against the amendment, with followers sending close to 15,000 letters to senators and making close to one thousand calls.

Other amendments favored by pro-Israel groups, including one approving additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and one tightening Iran sanctions, passed. 

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