Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said he plans to introduce legislation cutting funding to the Palestinians unless they recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“The recent announcement of a Fatah-Hamas unity agreement brings both danger and opportunity to the peace process, and the next five weeks may prove critical,” Paul said in a statement Monday.
Referring to the unity deal, Paul said, “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity [Hamas] that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end.”
A libertarian stalwart who may be considering a run for president in 2016, Paul has in the past been a frequent critic of foreign aid. Last year, he proposed legislation cutting off aid to Egypt following the military ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.
Paul called on the future Palestinian unity government to “put itself on record” and recognize the “right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state” within the next five weeks.
Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, the U.S. has provided nearly $5 billion in foreign aid to the Palestinians. In 2013, the U.S. gave the Palestinians nearly $440 million, according to the Congressional Research Service.