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Momentum is building on Capitol Hill for a new congressional resolution that would cut more than $5 billion in U.S. aid to the Palestinians as a result of an increase in violence that has claimed the lives of at least eight Israelis and wounded many more, according to a copy of the measure viewed by the Free Beacon.
The bill comes amid criticism from lawmakers about the Obama administration’s response to the terrorism and efforts to blame Israel for the violence.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.), among others, has demanded that Secretary of State John Kerry resign his post in light of accusations by the administration that Israel has fostered the violence as a result of its policies to combat Palestinian terrorism.
Rep. Martha McSally (R., Ariz.), a retired Air Force colonel, is now seeking to hold the Palestinian Authority directly responsible for the terrorist acts by cutting off U.S. taxpayer aid to the governing body, officials of which have called for more violence against Jewish people in recent days.
The resolution, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Beacon, calls on the Obama administration to more strongly condemn the Palestinian violence and seeks to condition continued U.S. aid on the Palestinian government’s acceptance of a Jewish state.
The measure “demands, as a condition of continued United States aid … that the President re-certify that the Palestinian Authority (PA) government, including all ministers, has publicly accepted” Israel’s right to exist.
McSally’s measure would “freeze all United States funding to the Palestinian Authority until their leaders openly increase efforts to end their incitement of violence.”
The resolution also expresses concern about the Obama administration’s continued use of executive authority to continue paying the Palestinians despite the government’s support for terrorism against Israel.
It expresses concern “about the use of national security waivers to continue supplying aid to the Palestinian Authority,” according to the text.
The measure also suggests that no U.S. aid should be given to a joint government that includes Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules over the Gaza Strip.
The Obama administration has come under fire from the pro-Israel community in recent days due to its statements blaming Israel for the violence.
Kerry, for instance, inaccurately stated that so-called Israeli “settlement” growth, the construction of Jewish homes in Jewish neighborhoods of Israel, is to blame for Palestinian violence.
“There’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years,” Kerry said. “Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement.”
John Kirby, a spokesman for the State Department, similarly accused Israelis of committing “terrorism.”
“Individuals on both sides of this divide are—have proven capable of, and in our view, are guilty of acts of terrorism,” Kirby told reporters earlier this week following questions about the spike in violence.
Kirby also noted that the administration has seen “credible reports of excessive use of force” by the Israelis against Palestinian “civilians,” several of whom have attempted to murder Jews in recent days.
“We routinely raise our concerns about that” with the Israeli government, Kirby said.
Cruz has demanded that Kerry resign over these comments.
“Once again Secretary Kerry and his staff have proven themselves utterly unfit for the positions they hold,” Cruz said late Thursday. “Mr. Kirby should immediately retract his offensive assertion that Israel is ‘guilty of acts of terror’ or resign, and Secretary Kerry should immediately disavow these remarks or resign.”