Tomorrow at 10am the House Appropriations Committee will be marking up legislation to fund President Obama's http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/budget_amendments/supplemental_04_09_09.pdf (link has expired) FY09 Supplemental Budget request (the mark-up will be webcast). In advance of that mark-up, APN today sent talking points to all members of the Appropriations Committee urging them to support the Middle East-related provisions in the bill. Also in advance of the mark-up, Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey released a http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/FY09SuppSummary05-04-09.pdf (link has expired) summary of the bill and a http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/ObeySuppStatement05-04-09.pdf (link has expired) statement about the bill (both of which deal with some details on Middle East funding)
APN's talking points to Committee members stated:
I am writing because I want you and your boss to know that Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly supports the Middle East-related provisions of this request. We urge members of the Appropriations Committee to support them in full.
This request includes:
- Vital Humanitarian aid: The request includes urgently needed humanitarian assistance for Gaza and the West Bank, as well as aid for the West Bank to support education and social services, to promote economic growth, and to improve governance and the rule of law. It also includes vital assistance for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, as well as funding to bolster security on the Gaza border. All of this aid would be subject to the same stringent conditions, restrictions, and oversight mechanisms put into place by Congress with respect to any assistance to the Palestinians - making aid to the Palestinians the most thoroughly vetted, monitored, and conditioned U.S. aid program in the world.
- An Important Pro-Peace Provision: A vital provision in the request would open the door for U.S. assistance to a Palestinian power-sharing government that includes Hamas, but only if that government and all its members have met the Quartet conditions (renounced violence, recognized Israel, and accepted prior agreements). If approved by Congress, Washington's relations with a power-sharing government would thus be subject to the same conditions mandated in 2006 by the (Republican-controlled) Congress and signed into law by the Bush Administration. And the proposed legislation would continue to bar aid to Hamas or any other terrorist organizations, as well as to a unity government that did not meet the conditions. This provision is an important signal to Palestinians and is consistent with APN's view that U.S. relations with a Palestinian unity government should be determined on the basis of the positions taken by that government and the strategic interests of the U.S., not solely on the basis of whether Hamas is included in the government.
- Other assistance: In addition, the bill includes funding for Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon - aid that has in important role in ensuring regional security, bolstering peace efforts, and restoring US leadership.
APN strongly supports all these Middle East-related provisions in the FY09 Supplemental Appropriations bill and urges members of the Appropriations Committee to approve them, in full.