Ossoff echoes Handel in backing legislation targeting Palestinian Authority

Democrat Jon Ossoff. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Democrat Jon Ossoff has echoed his Republican rival’s position on legislation that would potentially cut off U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority. And he said he’ll up the ante by authorizing the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies to “work more aggressively” to prevent Hamas from extending its grip on the West Bank.

His campaign said in a statement that Ossoff consulted Middle East experts about the Taylor Force Act before making his decision.

At an event on Sunday, Republican Karen Handel said she hoped to get a chance to vote on the measure, which would end U.S funding of the Palestinian government if it continues to provide stipends to families of convicted murderers and terrorists.

Ossoff said in an interview after the event that he was receptive to the measure, though he stopped short of saying whether he would vote for it.

The legislation was named after a former U.S. Army officer killed by a Palestinian assailant in Israel last year. About 8 percent of the district’s residents are Jewish, and many have traditionally voted Democratic.

The legislation has widespread Republican support, but some Democrats and aides to Donald Trump have expressed concern that it could undermine the Palestinian government as the U.S. tries to revive Middle East peace talks.

Here’s Ossoff’s full statement released Thursday about the Taylor Force Act:

“I’ll take it a step further. I’ll introduce legislation authorizing the State Department to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority if it is funding families of terrorists, as well as directing the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies to work more aggressively to prevent the terrorist group Hamas from increasing its influence in the West Bank.”

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Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates has been all over the place lately, from Capitol Hill to CNN and the pages of the New Yorker. The Atlanta native was in Cambridge, Mass., yesterday giving the keynote address at Harvard Law School’s graduation.

Her advice to the new grads, per The New York Times:

Taking a risk “means that you have to be willing to be wrong,” she said. “And that can sometimes be a lonely place to be. But I’m hoping that fear of being wrong won’t keep you from acting.”

“Because inaction, doing nothing, or simply going along, that’s a decision, too. and it seems the times in my life that I haven’t acted that’s when I’ve regretted it the most.”

She advised the graduates not to take the safe course. In what seemed to be a veiled swipe at her former boss, the president, she said: “Doing your job means you are not simply a reflection of someone else’s talents or opinions. You’re the person to whom a leader turns when he or she needs to hear the truth.”

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has endorsed Republican operative John Watson in the four-candidate race to lead the state GOP.

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Conservative columnist George Will has this prediction in The Washington Post: “If Ossoff wins in Georgia, Trump is in for a world of pain in 2018.”

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We are picking up word that Sen. Rick Jeffares is preparing to announce a run for lieutenant governor.

The McDonough Republican would be the third GOP contender in the contest. State Sen. David Shafer and state Rep. Geoff Duncan are already in.

 


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