J Street applauds the House of Representatives’ passage of a State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations bill that ensures robust assistance to Israel and the Palestinian people, as well as critical US funding for multilateral organizations and diplomacy worldwide.
We especially welcome new provisions in the legislation and its accompanying report that are an important first step toward ensuring that equipment purchased with US Foreign Military Financing is used in a manner consistent with US law and national security policies, including specifying that items supplied pursuant to the US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance may not be used in any way that undermines the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution.
J Street is particularly pleased to see the following appropriations priorities of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement in the bill:
- Full funding of the $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel pledged in the US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on security assistance, with new provisions in the bill and its accompanying report that are an important first step toward ensuring that equipment purchased with FMF is used in a manner consistent with US law and national security policies, including specifying that items supplied pursuant to the MOU may not be used in any way that undermines the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution;
- $225 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) for assistance to the West Bank and Gaza;
- a 12% increase to the Migration and Refugee Account, from which funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is drawn, as well as easing requirements to allow funds to flow faster and praising the Biden administration for reestablishing a relationship with UNRWA;
- Funding of at least $50 million for programs in the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act; and
- Robust overall funding for global US assistance, State Department personnel and operations, financial commitments to multilateral organizations and related programs supporting peace and diplomacy.
We thank House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee Chair Barbara Lee and other appropriators for ensuring that these broadly supported priorities were included in the bill.
J Street will also continue to lobby for legislation to require stronger, more specific transparency measures and restrictions on the end uses of US-sourced military equipment, including equipment bought with US aid to Israel, to ensure that it cannot be diverted to support acts of creeping annexation or other violations of international law. Recent polling of Jewish voters found that a solid majority support restricting such assistance to ensure that it cannot be used in connection with the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory.
Restricting US aid to specific purposes – and enforcing such restrictions – is also responsible, standard practice in the context of US assistance to foreign countries. In the interest of fairness and accountability, it is necessary to avoid a double standard and ensure that Congress and American taxpayers have due visibility into, and control over, how US aid is ultimately used by Israel, as well.