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Learn More about the Proposed Sanctions

Sanctions Enacted in Last Year's Budget (FY2011)

Since August 18, Members of Congress have placed "holds" on $192 million of bilateral economic assistance to Palestinians, according to The Independent, which reports that a "wide range of humanitarian, educational and state capacity building projects" are threatended by this delay.

In addition, Americans for Peace Now reports that Members of Congress also have placed "holds" on $150 million in security assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for training and equipment of its security forces. 

This money comes from sums already allocated by Congress in FY2011, which ended September 30, but which have not yet been spent.  The Members of Congress--reportedly Sen. Richard Lugar, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Rep. Kay Granger--who placed these "holds" could remove them after receiving what in their views would be satisfactory answers from the Obama Administration on how the money would be spent. 

The Obama Administration is reportedly lobbying Congress to remove the "holds," in which case the frozen assistance could then be spent.  

Sanctions Proposed in this Year's Budget (FY2012)

Even though FY2012 began on October 1, Congress has not yet passed a budget for the year.  Instead, Congress is expected to enact what may be a series of "continuing resolutions" that freeze spending at current levels until they are able to pass what is likely to be an omnibus budget, into which all of the appropriations bills will be combined. 

Because of this irregular budget process, it is not likely that the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriation bill (the appropriations bill that regulates all U.S. foreign assistance programs) will come up for a separate vote.  However, this bill is important because in both the House and Senate versions, drastic sanctions against Palestinians are proposed, and it is likely that some or all of these sanctions will find their way into the omnibus budget that likely will be voted on in November.

In both the House and Senate versions, all bilateral economic assistance to Palestinians could be cut off as a result of their seeking UN membership.  In the House version, all U.S. assistance to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides basic social services to Palestinian refugees, is also threatened. 

Learn more about these proposed sanctions and the differences between the two versions in our document "Sanctions and Restrictions on U.S. Assistance to Palestinians in FY2012 Appropriations Bills."

Other Proposed Sanctions and Punishments

Several bills and resolutions introduced in Congress propose sanctions or other punishments against Palestinians and those that support their UN membership bid, including the following:

H.R.2829, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Aug. 30, would cut U.S. funding to UN agencies that provide the State of Palestine with any form of upgraded status.  The bill also proposes to condition future U.S. funding of the UN on its willingness to articulate a pro-Israel position. 

S.Res.1595, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch on Sept. 21, would prohibit U.S. funding of the UN " in the event the United Nations grants Palestine a change in status from a permanent observer entity before a comprehensive peace agreement has been reached with Israel."

H.Res.394, introduced by Rep. Joe Walsh on Sept. 8, encourages Israel to illegally annex the West Bank as a punishment for Palestine seeking UN membmership.

H.R.2893, introduced by Rep. Steve Israel on Sept. 12, would prohibit the United States from providing military aid to "any country that votes in the United Nations General Assembly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state."