JPOST: PM to Meet US Rep. Threatening to Block Funds from PA

Apr 26, 2011

By:  Herb Keinon

Meeting with Kay Granger comes week before Netanyahu goes to Europe to lobby against PA move to pursue unilateral statehood at UN.  

As both Israel and the Palestinian Authority step up lobbying efforts regarding the possible PA bid for statehood at the UN in September, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet a top US congresswoman Wednesday who threatened that the US would reduce aid to the PA if it went ahead with the move. 

Representative Kay Granger, a republican from Texas, said in a recent Jerusalem Post interview that such a Palestinian move would be a "very serious step" that would affect US aid to the PA and could also "affect our funding at the UN."

Granger, chairwoman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing foreign aid, is part of a visiting Congressional delegation that is headed by Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and includes four other Republican senators, and one Democrat: Maria Cantwell from Washington.

In addition to discussing the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and the possibility that the Palestinians will seek a unilateral declaration in September, Netanyahu is also expected during his meeting with the US lawmakers to discuss the rapid changes in the region, including the situation in Syria.

So far Jerusalem, carefully watching the situation in Syria, has remained publicly pretty mum on the developments there.

Netanyahu will take Israel's efforts to keep Europe from supporting recognition of a Palestinian state to London and Paris next week, where he will make Israel's case to British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Netanyahu will meet for the first time as prime minister with Cameron next Wednesday, and the following day he is scheduled to meet Sarkozy.

Both Israel and the PA intensively are courting Britain, France and Germany, since those countries are looked to as the leaders in setting the EU's foreign policy.

Whether Europe supports or opposes a Palestinian resolution at the UN will to a large extent determine the resolution's significance, as the Palestinians are eager to get the resolution passed in the General Assembly by the world's democracies, and not only by the automatic majority of Islamic and developing countries it commands in that body.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was in Paris last week, and reportedly received mixed signals from Sarkozy over the idea.  He is scheduled to go to Berlin on May 5.

Earlier this month, following a meeting with Netanyahu in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out against a unilateral declaration of statehood and in favor of an agreed upon solution.  The US has also made its position against such a move well known.

Regarding Netanyahu's visit to Britain and France, The Israel Project released a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll last week showing that while both Israel and the Palestinians are viewed coolly in Britain and France, Israel scores slightly higher than the Palestinians among the French public, while the situation is reversed in Britain.

Asked to rate their feelings toward Israel and the Palestinians, in Britain 19% of the UK public said they had warm feelings for Israel, compared with 31% for the Palestinians.  Thirty-one percent of the British public said they had cool feelings toward Israel, and 25% toward the Palestinians.

In France, 21% percent registered warm feelings toward Israel, compared with 16% for the Palestinians; while 29% had cool feelings to Israel, and 36% for the Palestinians.