WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today took to the Senate floor to ask for unanimous consent to pass the Stand with Israel Act. The legislation, S.2265, was introduced on April 29, 2014 and Sen. Paul asked consent of the Senate to pass the legislation on May 1, 2014. The purpose of this bill is to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority if it is allied with Hamas—the same Hamas that murdered two Israeli teenagers and one dual U.S.- Israeli teenager last week. Below is the transcript of Sen. Paul’s floor speech.
I don’t believe that foreign aid should go to countries that persecute Christians. I also don’t believe that foreign aid should go to countries that host terrorists within their government. I’ve had this belief for some time, but I’ve met with a great deal of resistance in the Senate.
Last week in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I introduced an amendment that said that any country that persecutes Christians by law — Pakistan has a Christian woman, Asia Bibi. She’s on death row for the crime some blasphemy. Others say she never said a word. She’s really in prison for being a Christian. She’s been there for five years. I say Pakistan shouldn’t get taxpayer money and that no taxpayer money should go to countries that are persecuting Christians.
In the Sudan, another country that receives money from the American taxpayer, Miriam abrihim. She married a man who was a Christian. She tried to escape recently and she was re-detained. The only thing that’s consistent about foreign aid is that it continues to flow, regardless of restrictions, regardless of window dressing to say, oh, if a country does this, we’ll take it back. It never happens.
Your foreign aid, your hard-earned American tax dollars continue to flow to these countries no matter what their behavior is. So two weeks ago, I came to the floor and I said, you know what in Israel, Hamas is now joining with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is a terrorist group that does not recognize Israel and attacks Israel on a routine basis. Now that they will be part of a unity government, they will be receiving foreign aid from America. And so I said, for goodness sakes, would we not want restrictions on this aid? Would we not to say that our money shouldn’t flow to Hamas?
They should have to recognize Israel’s right to exist. They should have to renounce violence. On a daily basis, they lob missiles from Gaza into Israel. And yet, in the Foreign Relations Committee, only one other member had the guts to vote against this foreign aid. Because foreign aid is so entrenched in our national psyche that it goes on regardless of the behavior.
Now, some will say, oh, well there are rules. If Hamas becomes a big part of this government, they won’t get any money. Well, guess what? Hamas can read. They have read our legislation. They are purposely setting up their unity government to evade our restrictions. There are already people who say the President has a waiver. So in my legislation, the Stand with Israel Act, we would get rid of the Presidential waiver and say if Hamas joins a government with a Palestinian Authority, they should get no American taxpayer money. I said this two weeks ago.
The Democrats came and said no. President Obama doesn’t want to give up the authority to continue sending money to these countries. Well, a week ago, we had another disaster. In Israel, three young teenagers were killed. The response of Hamas was to stand up and cheer. I can give you the direct response of Hamas — their political director said that — “Blessed be the hands that captured them.”
They stood with glee and cheered when these three teenaged boys were killed in cold blood. These were not soldiers. These were civilians. The news reports are that Hamas has joined this unity government precisely because they are bankrupt. They want to get our money. That’s why they are joining the unity government. What is ours? Ours is a tepid please don’t behave that way. But we have no teeth. The same thing in Egypt, the same thing in Pakistan.
Country after country, the only thing that is consistent is the money never stops and the behavior never changes.
Some will argue that foreign aid is a way to project American power. Well, if it is, we ought to be projecting American values. We should project what America stands for. We shouldn’t be saying here’s some money, do with it what you will.
So this has real teeth. This act is called the Stand with Israel Act and says no money to terrorists, no money to Hamas unless they are willing to give up the war and begin to find peaceful means of coexisting. So this evening, I’d like to ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Foreign Relations be discharged from further consideration of Senate Bill 2265 and that the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. I further ask consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to consider be made and laid upon the table.