MIFTAH Condemns New Bill Passed in the US House of Representatives as Discriminatory and Counterproductive
The Palestinian Initiative for Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) strongly condemns the passing of the HR 4681 bill in the US House of Representatives yesterday. The bill was approved in a 361 to 37 vote.
MIFTAH views the bill’s declared purpose “To promote the development of democratic institutions in areas under the administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, and for other purposes,” also known as the “Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006,” as gravely disturbing insofar that it impedes the development of democracy and nation-building in Palestine, rather than supports it.
The bill bans the United States from giving financial support to Palestinian non-governmental organizations working in the West Bank and Gaza, except in response to basic humanitarian and health needs. Many Palestinian NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza work in the fields of human rights, democracy and conflict resolution, as well as agricultural support for farmers and cooperatives, educational and awareness raising projects and campaigns, and income generation projects, among others.
MIFTAH believes such sanctions against the Palestinians are completely unjustified, and constitute collective punishment on an entire people. Since the January 2006 elections in which Hamas won the majority of parliament seats, the Palestinians have been bearing the brunt of an economic siege imposed on the Palestinian Authority; coupled with a military siege, Palestinian society is on the brink of total collapse.
MIFTAH strongly condemns this bill as counterproductive and contradictory to its stated purpose. Not only will it undermine the efforts of Palestinian civil society in continuing its work among the people, but it will also hinder it from responding to the demand on the Palestinian street for genuine change and a positive and peaceful dynamic towards realizing an independent and secure Palestinian state.
MIFTAH calls on all elected leaders and representatives in the United States to be impartial and use fair rationale in supporting any proposed bill, based on the interests of both peoples involved in this conflict.