J Street Welcomes Robust Aid & New Accountability Provisions in Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

July 1, 2021

J Street applauds the House Appropriations Committee’s approval of the 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.

In his public testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami urged appropriators to:

  • fully fund the $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing security assistance for Israel pledged in the MOU, while taking new steps to ensure that equipment purchased with US assistance is not used to support acts of creeping annexation, violations of Palestinian rights, or in other ways contravene longstanding US interests and values;
  • make available not less than $225 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) for assistance to the West Bank and Gaza;
  • recommend that appropriations of not less than $360 million from the Migration and Refugee Account be made available to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA);
  • provide funding of at least $50 million for programs in the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, with at least $35 million of this amount provided for the new People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund at USAID; and
  • ensure 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 lobby in support of its passage by the full House of Representatives.

At the same time, J Street will 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. Restricting US aid to specific purposes – and enforcing such restrictions – is 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.

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