May 20 2011

Graham Confronts ‘Elephant in the Room’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and future American assistance.  Graham is the Ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

Graham said: 

“For some time we have avoided talking about the elephant in the room in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I think it is time we break the silence."

“Will the Palestinian people – through their elected leaders – recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State?"

“The American people have assisted the Palestinian and Israeli people in helping build strong societies."

“Future American aid to the Palestinian people should require one basic condition – the recognition by the Palestinian government and elected officials from its major coalition members of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State."

“Elected officials in Israel, from conservative and liberal governments, acknowledge and support an independent Palestinian state.  They have expressed support for a two-state solution.  It is time for Palestinian officials to state clearly and unequivocally that they accept the presence of Israel as a Jewish State."

“I don’t think this is too much to ask and is necessary to clear the air.  Details such as boundary lines, capitol locations, security arrangements, settlements, and other outstanding issues can only be dealt with over time if the true goal is something other than the destruction of Israel."

“This new condition on American aid is imperative in light of the coalition government formed between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.  The Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel and our country views them as a terrorist organization.  A coalition between the Palestinian Authority and an unreformed, unrepentant Hamas makes a comprehensive peace deal with Israel virtually impossible." 

“Until Palestinian officials address this elephant in the room, I do not believe the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will bear fruit and any future aid by our country will be wasted.”