In a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, two congressmen said a medal awarded to veteran journalist Helen Thomas could hurt U.S. assistance to the PA.
Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in their April 6 letter noted that the Foreign Affairs Committee passed legislation last year setting conditions on U.S. assistance to the PA, and that recognition of someone like Helen Thomas goes against those conditions.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by JTA, the lawmakers wrote that the Preparing the Palestinian People for Peace Act conditioned U.S. assistance "on whether the PA was actively preparing its people for peace through compromise with messages of tolerance, understanding, and reconciliation. Unfortunately, it seems that the award to Helen Thomas is just another way to avoid telling the Palestinian population that they must be prepared for a negotiated settlement.”
Thomas, considered the dean of White House correspondents, was forced to resign in 2010 after making anti-Israel comments to a blogger.