In a powerful op-ed in National Review on Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for urging Israel to show “restraint” while pursuing justice for the three teenagers murdered by members of Hamas. He stressed that America’s response to this horror should be more forceful. Paul recommended the immediate cessation of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.
How many times must Israel hear this call? Children are murdered — please show restraint. Cafés and buses are bombed — please show restraint. Towns are victimized by hundreds of rockets — please show restraint while you bury your dead once again.
I think it is clear by now: Israel has shown remarkable restraint. It possesses a military with clear superiority over that of its Palestinian neighbors, yet it does not respond to threat after threat, provocation after provocation, with the type of force that would decisively end their conflict.
But sometimes restraint can work against you. Sometimes you just have to say, enough is enough.
“U.S. taxpayer money may soon be going to an entity kidnapping and murdering Israeli and U.S. children,” Paul insisted. “That is unconscionable, and it must end.”
This is not Paul’s first call to end foreign aid to the PA. In April, he introduced a measure that would have cancelled aid to the Palestinian government until they agreed to a cease fire with Israel and issued a public declaration affirming Israel’s right to exist.
Paul’s impassioned and emotional demand that the United States stop enabling irresponsible actors in the Palestinian Authority by providing them with financial aid is tempered only by his 2011 insistence that the U.S. should also stop providing Israel with foreign aid.
“I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel, but not with money you don’t have,” Paul said in his defense. “We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends.”
In fact, Paul has gone on record calling for the reduction or elimination of American foreign aid to all of its recipients.
“I would start a little more quickly with those who are enemies of Israel and enemies of the United States, and I’d like to see their aid ended much quicker,” the junior Kentucky senator clarified in 2013. “With regard to Israel, it could be gradual phenomenon. It doesn’t mean we disengage from Israel.”
Given his record opposing aid spending in general, Paul’s call to end foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority loses some of its moral authority.