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Hatch wants to cut U.N. funds if Palestine status upgraded

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 12:23 a.m. MDT

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.  (Richard Drew, Associated Press) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. (Richard Drew, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch wants to cut off U.S. funding for the United Nations if it upgrades Palestine's current status.

Citing press reports, Hatch said the U.N. General Assembly may soon vote on whether the Palestinian authority’s status will be upgraded from an observer “entity” to an “observer state.” The Utah Republican filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to eliminate funding for the U.N. should that happen.

“Increasing the Palestinians’ role in the United Nations is absolutely the wrong approach, especially in light of recent military developments in the Middle East,” Hatch said. “Israel is one of America’s closest allies, and any movement to strengthen one of its fiercest enemies must not be tolerated.”

Hatch's amendment follows legislation he introduced last year, the Solidarity with Israel Act, that is designed to discourage the General Assembly from upgrading Palestine’s status. Any increase in Palestine’s status could directly impact the ability of the Palestinians to manipulate such U.N.-affiliated organizations as the International Criminal Court, he said.

In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 photo, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talks with The Associated Press at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. With his re-election to a seventh term all but assured, Hatch can think about his legacy. He’s very clear about what he wants: a deal that restructures the tax code while also slowing and even stopping the government’s accumulation of debt. To get it, he says he’ll practice the art of compromise. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (Cliff Owen, AP) In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 photo, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talks with The Associated Press at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. With his re-election to a seventh term all but assured, Hatch can think about his legacy. He’s very clear about what he wants: a deal that restructures the tax code while also slowing and even stopping the government’s accumulation of debt. To get it, he says he’ll practice the art of compromise. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (Cliff Owen, AP)

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, joined eight other GOP senators in co-sponsoring the amendment.

Dennis Romboy Twitter: dennisromboy

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