Thursday, March 17, 2005

Lethal Aid

AIPAC has done it again. President Bush's gesture of historic proportions, offering 200 million dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority to build its state up and strengthen its security forces, was gutted by the House. Somehow, also, the House decided it would be a great idea to debate and talk about Arafat as it decided to restrict the aid. I guess they forgot he's dead. I guess they also forgot Israel actually wanted the Palestinians to get this aid too. Added to the other recent travesties of Congress (Bankruptcy Bill and Tom DeLay's Ethics Chairman Toady Switcheroo) this is just breathtaking.

Alterman has his usual vitriolic analysis here:

"Following AIPAC's lead, the committee endorsed the aid in principle and then attached so many conditions to it (mosques and the Internet must be monitored to prevent criticism of Israel, was one of them) that the aid package becomes one big slap in the face to Abu Mazen. (Arafat did not have so many conditions on aid). But no matter. All legislation like this has a "national security waiver" that the President can invoke to provide the aid for national security reasons even if every demand by Congress is not met. So, under intense pressure from AIPAC, the waiver was removed. Bush's hands are tied. It is worth noting that the government of Israel supports the aid, without onerous conditions, as being in Israel's best interests. The Administration says it needs the aid to promote peace and an end to terrorism. And the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) which represents virtually every major Jewish organization in the country -- including all the local federations -- endorsed the aid without killer amendments. But AIPAC is apparently its own sovereign state so it does what it likes. And it has the ranking Democrat on House Foreign Ops, Nita Lowey, doing its bidding. I guess she thinks she is being pro-Israel by undermining Palestinians trying to end terrorism against Israel."

The taking away of the waiver is just a blinding moment too, not only are they defying Bush's will, they are preventing him from using any discretion to claim any of it back. Alterman believes the AIPAC is behind all of it, and they probably have a lot to do with it, but I think the idiocy, myopia, and prejudice of Congress had more to do with it.