Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is pushing legislation that would cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian government unless it makes a formal declaration of Israel's right to exist.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during an event at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
Paul, considered a likely 2016 presidential contender, announced plans to introduce the bill Monday.
“In the absence of such a clear, unambiguous statement on the part of the newly unified Palestinian government, the United States should act to enforce the law and cut off aid to the Palestinian government until they recognize Israel's right to exist,” Paul said in a statement.
“I will introduce a measure when Congress returns this week to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon this statement, with a cutoff date of five weeks from now if, upon its formation, the new government does not take this vital step toward peace,” he said.
The alliance between Fatah, the leading Palestinian political party, and Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and by Israel, was the main reason that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that negotiations could not continue.
"Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end," Paul said. “That being said, the new unity government has a chance to put itself on the record as clearly believing in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, as Israel recognizes the right of a Palestinian state to exist. It should also declare an immediate and lasting ceasefire to enable negotiations.”
Like his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Kentucky senator is known for noninterventionist foreign policy stance, which has worried some more hawkish Republicans as well as Americans concerned about the security of Israel.
The Washington Post first reported on Paul's bill.
The Post noted that in March, Paul was not among the potential 2016 GOP contenders to show up at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both mocked a noninterventionist policy, though didn't mention Paul by name.