J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement upon House passage of the FY2009 Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which includes the $865 million Palestinian aid package:
J Street welcomes House passage of the President’s Supplemental Budget Request, including $865 million in Palestinian aid, $300 million of which is allocated for Gaza reconstruction. J Street has strongly advocated for such an aid package since the end of the Gaza war in January. Its passage in the House today is yet another indication that a new wind is blowing in Washington when it comes to American policy in the Middle East. In previous years, attempts to provide aid to the Palestinians have been met with politically motivated efforts to block assistance or to burden it with unworkable conditions. In this case, Congress actually agreed to loosen some of the strings that could prevent assistance from flowing to a Palestinian unity government. The strong support for the aid package highlights the growing consensus that active American leadership is crucial to bringing about a peaceful and diplomatic end to the conflicts in the Middle East. J Street looks forward to quick passage of the bill in the Senate next week, and to President Obama’s continued leadership in achieving true peace and security in the Middle East through diplomacy and a two-state solution.