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GOP senators sponsor bill to cut UN funding over PA benefits

“The U.S. should not lend credibility to an organization that actively promotes and rewards terrorism,” Sen. Mitt Romney wrote just ahead of Friday’s General Assembly vote. 

Dennis Francis (at dais), president of the 78th session of the General Assembly, chairs the resumed 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” on May 10, 2024. Credit: Manuel Elías/U.N. Photo.
Dennis Francis (at dais), president of the 78th session of the General Assembly, chairs the resumed 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” on May 10, 2024. Credit: Manuel Elías/U.N. Photo.

U.S. Senator Mitt Romeny (R-Utah) and 24 Republican colleagues introduced legislation on Thursday to cut American funding to the United Nations if the Palestinian Authority is granted more privileges at the global body.

The next day, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to do just that, passing a resolution to give the Palestinians unprecedented benefits for a non-member observer state, including the ability to sit on various committees and introduce and sponsor motions.

“The U.S. should not lend credibility to an organization that actively promotes and rewards terrorism,” wrote Romney. “By granting any sort of status at the U.N. to the Palestine Liberation Organization, we would be doing just that.”

The designation of “Palestine” for the PLO was adopted by the United Nations in 1988.

The legislation, co-sponsored in part by Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Republican, is called the NOPE Act, or No Official Palestine Entry (NOPE) Act

Current U.S. law prohibits funding to organizations such as the United Nations which give the Palestinians full membership or standing as a member state outside a political settlement with Israel. 

Robert Wood, the deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly that, “As a result of this vote, the Palestinian non-member state observer mission has not gained the right to vote in the General Assembly. It also has not gained the right to put forward candidates in U.N. organs or to be elected as a member of the Security Council.”

“In short,” Wood added, “the Palestinians’ non-member state observer mission does not have the same standing as a Member State after this vote.” 

The NOPE Act would go a step further, extending prohibitions to organizations that offer the PLO “any status, rights, or privileges beyond observer status.”

“The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization are deeply flawed, plagued by corruption, and incite terrorism through the egregious ‘pay for slay’ program,” wrote Risch. “Giving the PLO a voice at the United Nations is preposterous and fails to account for the PLO’s role in inspiring generations of Palestinians to support acts of terror.” 

In addition to Romney and Risch, the NOPE Act is cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Pete Ricketts (R-Nebr.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Nebr.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

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