Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) yesterday called on Secretary of State John Kerry to convey America’s full-throated support of Israel during meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu this week. In a letter to the Secretary, Donovan further asserted that U.S. policy should restrict future aid to the Palestinian Authority unless the Palestinians stop inciting riots and violence. The recent assaults against Israelis are believed to have started after false rumors circulated on Palestinian social media accusing Israel of planning to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Congressman Donovan said, “Tragically, the Palestinian Authority, rather than calling for calm, chose to inflame the situation in its public statements, inciting further violence. This will only lead to more Israeli and Palestinian deaths, and it must stop immediately. I am encouraged that Secretary Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I ask that the Secretary convey America’s full support for Israel to the Prime Minister.”
Over the past several weeks, Palestinians have staged violent attacks against Israeli citizens. Police officers, soldiers, and civilians have been victimized in brutal stabbings and shootings, with no clear end in sight. Secretary Kerry announced that he would meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Abbas this week.
Congressman Donovan concluded, “In promoting peace and affirming the right for the Jewish people to live in a Jewish state, we are not just protecting an important ally – we are safeguarding a heritage that is central to our culture.”
The full letter is attached and copied below.
Text of Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry
Dear Secretary Kerry,
Your upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, represents an important opportunity to reaffirm our long-standing bipartisan commitment to the State of Israel. I respectfully ask that you convey to Prime Minister Netanyahu the full support of the American people. Further, it should be the policy of the United States to condition aid to the Palestinian Authority on the cessation of incitement to riot.
It is tragic that the context of this meeting is once again the outbreak of violence in Israel and the West Bank, violence that has already claimed the lives of seven Israelis in targeted assassinations. This recent spate of murderous assaults against Israeli citizens, servicemembers, and law enforcement personnel is believed to have been started after false rumors circulated on Palestinian social media that Israel planned to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Tragically, the Palestinian Authority, rather than calling for calm, chose to inflame the situation through incitement in public statements. This will only lead to the deaths of more Israelis and Palestinians, and it must stop.
Indeed the principal victims of this violence will be the Palestinians themselves. Mahmoud Abbas and his government should focus on reducing corruption and improving opportunities for Palestinians, not fostering what has already been termed a “third intifada.”
With those facts in mind I urge you to communicate to Prime Minister Netanyahu the total support of the American people during this difficult period. Additionally, it should be the policy of the United States to condition any further assistance to the Palestinian Authority on the cessation of incitement to riot and the requirement that they end all support of those who target Israeli civilians. I also ask that you impress upon the Palestinian Authority the need to protect all religious sites, regardless of creed.
I recently returned from my first visit to Israel. To visit this land sacred to all the Abrahamic religions, a land charged with the weight of thousands of years of civilization and history, was an experience like none I have ever had. In promoting peace in this region, by affirming the right for the Jewish people to live in a Jewish state, we are not just protecting an important ally; we are safeguarding a heritage that is central to our culture.
It is clear that on many issues we have a strong divergence of opinion on how best to pursue our mutual goal of peace and security for the State of Israel, in particular when it comes to the question of the nuclear agreement with Iran. However, I do not doubt your commitment to this important task, and I look forward to a response from your Department on the steps you are taking in response to this fresh crisis.
DANIEL M. DONOVAN, JR.
Member of Congress