Veto S. 2370

Ask President Bush to veto S. 2370, also known as the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, a bill that ultimately exacerbates the problem its trying to fix. By placing severe restrictions on humanitarian aid to Palestine, it doesn\'t provide any solvency for terrorism. Rather, Palestinians are being left with nothing, motivating any further violence and threatening the peace process as a whole. The central provision of this resolution would prohibit the United States from providing direct assistance to the PA unless the President certifies that it has fulfilled a long list of subjective and ambiguous conditions. Current law already prohibits the United States from providing direct assistance to the PA unless the President signs a national security waiver, and in fact the United States provides no direct assistance to the PA. However, this resolution goes far beyond reiterating the current US ban on direct assistance to the PA; it also calls for many troubling provisions that would punish and isolate the Palestinian people for exercising their right to vote, including: 1. Restricting humanitarian aid. Through its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel has de-developed the Palestinian economy by destroying infrastructure and agricultural lands; by inhibiting the development of internal trade through walls, checkpoints, roadblocks, closures, and curfews; and by preventing external trade through border closings. US humanitarian assistance, overseen by USAID and implemented by certified non-governmental organizations (NGOs), is not only essential to preventing the complete collapse of the Palestinian economy under these difficult conditions imposed by Israel; it is also morally necessary since the United States supports these Israeli policies through $3 billion of direct military and economic assistance every year. Even though it contains a waiver for certain humanitarian aid categories, this resolution threatens US assistance to NGOs in Palestinian territories by putting it in the same category as aid to the PA. 2. Designating Palestinian territory as a terrorist sanctuary. Under the terms of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, this designation would trigger restrictions on US exports to Palestinian territories, effectively gutting the free trade agreement between the United States and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and further crippling the Palestinian economy. 3. Prohibiting official Palestinian diplomacy or representation in the United States. Restricting Palestinian diplomacy in the United States would be counter-productive to efforts to promote dialogue and a just peace, further eroding the claim of the United States to be an honest broker

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