HR 2829 Targets Palestinian Statehood

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HR 2829 Targets Palestinian Statehood – by Stephen Lendman

Lawless extremists infest Congress like crabgrass besets lawns. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) is one of the worst.

She once supported assassinating Fidel Castro, telling the Miami Herald: “If someone were to do it, I wouldn’t be crying.”

She also endorses US imperial wars, police state laws, corporate empowerment, tax cuts for the rich, laying waste to Libya, perhaps a second Bay of Pigs, and Israeli lawlessness, while, at the same, opposing Palestinian statehood.

On August 30, (with 57 co-sponsors) she introduced “HR 2829: To promote transparency, accountability, and reform within the United Nation system, and for other purposes.”

It’s also called the “United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011.”

The bill was referred to the House Foreign Affairs committee she heads, one of many examples of deplorable governance in America, letting criminals, extremists, and racists run it.

No wonder the business of America is war, ravaging countries throughout North Africa/the Middle East/and Central Asia, while, at the same time, supporting the world’s most despotic, venal regimes.

Israel is one of many, committing slow-motion genocide against millions of Palestinians under occupation. Ros-Lehtinen apparently approves, besides wanting to deny their right to statehood and full de jure UN membership.

In September, that may change as the Palestinian Authority (PA) will ask the General Assembly for full status recognition. Washington and Israel oppose it. So does Ros-Lehtinen.

If enacted, her bill will slash UN contributions and punish its organizations for embracing full Palestinian rights.

It “(o)pposes efforts by the Palestinian leadership to evade a negotiated settlement with Israel” by seeking UN recognition, and “(w)ithholds US contributions from any UN agency or program that upgrades the status of the PLO/Palestinian observer mission.”

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), providing humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees and Gazans under siege will be specifically targeted by her bill.

So will the Human Rights Council and an anti-racism conference mischaracterized as a platform for anti-Israeli rhetoric.

In other words, Ros-Lehtinen supports Palestinian servitude under permanent militarized occupation, denying them the full sovereign rights they deserve.

She prefers collective punishment, stolen land, expanded settlements, Gaza’s siege, targeted assassinations, mass arrests, police state enforcement, and other policies like America’s, ones she also endorses.

She said:

“The Palestinian leadership’s current ‘scheme’ to attain recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN without even recognizing Israel’s right to exist has been tried before, and it was stopped only when the US made clear that it wouldn’t fund any UN entity that went along with it. My bill similarly seeks to stop this dangerous ‘scheme’ in its tracks.”

Not only is Ros-Lehtinen recklessly unhinged, she’s also either ill-informed, stupid, or both.

Palestinians have long been willing to recognize Israel in return for their own state within 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, effectively ceding 78% of historic Palestine to Israel.

Ros-Lehtinen wants Israel to have it all, supporting belligerence to get it. She also backs US efforts to revoke and repudiate the Goldstone Report, wanting Israel absolved of its Cast Lead slaughter of over 1,400 Palestinians, injuring thousands more, and causing widespread Gaza destruction – war crimes by any definition.

Her bill seeks to shift US UN contributions to a “voluntary basis,” rather than the current compulsory system. Moreover, if voluntary ones don’t provide 80% of its funding, Washington would cut its amount given by 50%.

Previously Washington withheld funding to force the body to comply with its wishes, including reducing its contribution from 25 – 22% (25% for peacekeeping operations). As a result, it precipitated a 1995 financial crisis, losing its seat on the UN budget panel at the time.

Given Congress’ bipartisan support for Israel, anything is possible this time if hardline Republicans press their demands.

Ros-Lehtinen is especially extremist. Her earlier State Department authorization bill included sweeping restrictions on worldwide foreign aid, including wanting to disengage from international forums and punish countries unsupportive of US policies.

Nonetheless, according to Peter Yeo, UN Foundation vice president for public policy, Ros-Lehtinen’s HR 2829 has no chance for enactment because Senate leaders won’t support it.

Yeo added that other member states oppose her proposals, saying also that “America can’t lead if we don’t pay our dues.”

Congressional Democrats expect House but not Senate passage, meaning the bill is more posturing than likely policy. However, it highlights how hardball Washington can be when it wants to, besides being one-sided for Israel, stopping short perhaps at times of shooting itself in the foot.

Rep. Howard Berman (D. CA), former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, said he couldn’t see “how a bill that will undoubtedly weaken our influence at the UN and make it harder to counter Palestinian attempts to unilaterally declare statehood is in” Israel’s or America’s interests.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also expressed opposition, saying:

“Cutting by half US funding to the UN would seriously undermine our international standing and dangerously weaken the UN as an instrument to advance US national security goals.”

She added that it’s timing was also ill-advised, implying perhaps growing hostility to America’s imperial marauding.

As things now stand, the Palestinian Authority will petition the General Assembly for statehood and full de jure membership during its September session later this month.

Although the required two-thirds majority exists for passage, the jury is still out on what Israel, Washington and PA President Mahmoud Abbas will do when the moment of truth arrives.

Stay tuned. One or more future updates will discuss it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.