of Palestinian Authority Thanks J Street for Lobbying Efforts
By Aryssa Damron
October 19, 2018
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority,
met with leaders of the liberal advocacy group J Street, and thanked them for
their lobbying efforts, citing his "appreciation for their efforts to
support the peace process within American society."
Abbas praised J Street for their involvement in garnering
congressional support for a letter sent to the White House, the Times of Israel
reported. One hundred and twelve Democrats in the House of Representatives and
34 senators signed a letter sent to the White House calling to reverse the
decision "end vital United States contributions to the United
National Relief [and] Works Agency (UNRWA)."
In August, the Trump administration announced they
would be cutting more than $300 million in aid to the UNRWA, which has supported
Palestinian refugees. The State Department said that the United States
"will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed
In their statement about withdrawing aid, the State
Department criticized the fact that the United States contributed over 30
percent of the agency's funds, saying, "We made it clear that the United
States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the
burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years."
Following this announcement, a spokesman for Abbas said,
"The consecutive American decisions represent a flagrant assault against
the Palestinian people and a defiance of U.N. resolutions. Such a punishment will
not succeed to change the fact that the United States no longer has a role in
the region and that it is not a part of the solution."
In his meeting with J Street leadership on Wednesday, Abbas continued to
criticize the Trump administration, saying "We distinguish between America
and the current American administration that has brought the peace process to a
The delegation from J Street, which included their
executive director Jeremy Ben Ami, said that they have "affirmed their
readiness to continue efforts to resume the peace process on the basis of a