Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.
Shameless plug: On Monday, July 13, FMEP and Jewish Currents are hosting a webinar entitled “Imagining Together a Shared, One-State Reality,” featuring Peter Beinart and Yousef Munayyer, in conversation with Lara Friedman. Details and RSVP here.
1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
(FY21 SFOPS – HOUSE) This week the House Appropriations Committee completed work on the FY21 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Details of both the Subcommittee and Full Committee markups are in Section 2, below, along with an analysis of the Middle East-related elements in the text. The bill now goes to the House floor, where it is virtually guaranteed to be the focus of a large number of amendments, of both the germane/serious variety, and of non-germane/grandstanding type. Stay tuned.
(FY21 NDAA – HOUSE) HR 6395: The House is getting set to take up HR 6395 – the FY21 NDAA – on the House floor. The base text of the bill includes a handful of Middle East-related provisions:
- Section 736 – Grant program for increased cooperation on post-traumatic stress disorder research between the US and Israel
- Section 1221 – Extension and modification of authority to provide assistance to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
- Section 1222 – Extension of authority to provide assistance to the vetted Syrian opposition
- Section 1223 – Extension of authority to support operations and activities of the Of-fice of Security Cooperation in Iraq
- Section 1224 – Prohibition on provision of weapons and other forms of support to cer-tain organizations.
- Section 1225 – Consolidated budget display and report on Operation Spartan Shield.
- Section 1226 – Sense of Congress on Peshmerga forces as a partner in Operation Inherent Resolve
- Section 1269 – Sense of Congress with respect to Qatar
- Section 1270 – Sense of Congress on United States military support for and participation in the Multinational Force and Observers
- Section 1271 – Prohibition on support for military participation against the Houthis
- Section 1272 – Rule of construction relating to use of military force
- Sec. 1659 (Missile defense cooperation between the United States and Israel, with $300 million provided for these programs)
In addition, the House Rules Committee this week opened the window for the submission of amendments (the majority of which will not be considered or ruled in order). The submission period ends July 13th at 1pm. Submitted amendments can be tracked here (stay tuned for next week’s Round-Up for an analysis of submitted amendments).
Jewish News Syndicate 7/10: “A group of U.S. House Republicans has penned a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in response to a letter sent to him last month by their Democratic colleagues that threatened the conditioning or even cutting off of U.S. assistance to Israel if the Jewish state goes ahead with its plans to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria.” “The GOP letter was signed by Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Ron Wright (R-Texas), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Tedd Budd (R-N.C.), Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who is the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.” Also see Riggleman tweet 7/10: “America has no greater friend than Israel, and Israel has no greater friend than America. For 72 years, both of our nations have fought side by side in pursuit of justice and peace.” Read more on the letter I sent to @SecPompeo here.”
Porter (D-CA) 7/7: Tweet – “The Trump Administration’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia are putting human rights, regional security, and our defense industrial capacity at risk. I’m demanding details on the transfer of sensitive military technology so Congress can properly investigate.” [with link to 7/7 Foreign Policy article]
Kustoff (R-TN) 7/8: Tweet – “I sent a letter to House Leadership urging the inclusion of my bill, HR 6829, that would authorize a US-Israel cooperative grant program to help fight against COVID-19 in the next relief package. It’s vital we continue to work with our ally Israel to combat the current pandemic.” Letter text.
Foreign Policy 7/3: Lawmakers Allege Egyptian Interference in Torture Suit – A House letter calls the arrests of an Egyptian American human rights advocate’s family a bid to “undermine” the U.S. judicial process. [letter led by Rep. Malinowski (D-NJ)]
2. FY21 SFOPS – House
On 7/6, the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) held a pro forma markup of the FY21 SFOPS bill — pro forma in that the markup was in effect a farewell party for retiring SFOPS chair Lowey (D-NY), and included no substantive consideration of the bill or amendments). At the end of the meeting, the subcommittee passed the bill, leaving the real action for the Full Committee hearing. Lowey’s farewell statement delivered during the meeting is here; ranking member Granger’s (R-TX) statement is here, Video of the (completely non-substantive) mark-up is here. That being said, the bill as introduced in (and reported out by) the subcommittee included 2 newsworthy Middle East-related items — an earmark of $225 million for West Bank Gaza programs, and an entirely new section of law entitled “the Middle East Partnership for Peace” and establishing the “People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund” (discussed below).
On 7/9, the full Appropriations Committee met to mark up the FY21 SFOPS bill, now accompanied by the Committee Report laying out appropriators’ further intent. During the full committee consideration of the bill, Rep. Lowey offered an amendment to the language providing $225 million to the Palestinians (for details see the section examining Title III of the bill, below). As noted in the Committee’s press release, that amendment “strikes the Secretary of State’s authority to suspend assistance to West Bank and Gaza based on a determination, and makes clear that not less than $225 million shall be provided for development and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.” The amendment was opposed by Committee GOP members. Video of the full mark-up is here. [Also see: Al-Monitor – US lawmakers tussle over key condition on restoring Palestinian aid]
Middle East provisions of the bill, which now goes to the House floor for amendments and a vote, are as follows:
TITLE I — DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY
United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) [formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors], international broadcasting operations: Perennial bill language providing $632,732,000 “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East” of which $39,035,000 “may remain available until September 30, 2022”
- The table included in the Report earmarks $96,773,000 of these funds for “Middle East Broadcasting Networks.”
Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund: Perennial bill provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund, as authorized by section 633 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (22 U.S.C. 2078), the total amount of the interest and earnings accruing to such Fund on or before September 30, 2021, to remain available until expended.”
Israeli Arab Scholarship Program: Perennial bill provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program, as authorized by section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (22 U.S.C. 2452 note), all interest and earnings accruing to the Israeli Arab Scholarship Fund on or before September 30, 2021, to remain available until expended.”
- The Report notes with respect to this section of the bill: Combating Anti-Semitism.— “The Committee recommendation includes not less than $500,000 for the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as authorized by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–332). The Committee recognizes the important work of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti- Semitism given the rise of anti-Semitism and the increase in anti- Semitic incidents around the world. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to ensure the Office of the Special Envoy has sufficient resources and staff.”
TITLE III — BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
The Report accompanying the bill includes a table laying out ESF allocations, including for the Middle East & North Africa, as follows:
- Lebanon – $112.500 million, of which $12 million is for scholarships
- Middle East Partnership Initiative scholarship program – $20 million
- Middle East Regional Cooperation – $5 million
- Morocco – $10 million
- Near East Regional Democracy – $55 million
ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND: The bill [as introduced/passed by SFOPS subcommittee including the provisions with respect to ESF for the Palestinians stating that: “not less than $225,000,000 shall be made available for programs in the West Bank and Gaza, unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the Palestinian Authority is not actively engaging in security cooperation and training: Provided further, That, as deemed necessary by the Secretary, a portion of such funds may also be made available as a contribution or grant to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for activities in the West Bank and Gaza.”
This language is problematic for a number of reasons. First, it is poorly drafted, making both the intent and the impact unclear. Does “security cooperation and training” refer to Palestinian-US programs or Palestinian-Israel programs? Is the referenced report a condition for granting funding, or is it optional (as in, could the Secretary decide to not report at all, making the question of cooperation moot)? And is the availability of the funds for UNRWA also subject to the report? Or is intended to offer an alternative path to help the Palestinians if the report renders direct funding for West Bank/Gaza programs impossible?
In recognition of some/all of these problems, it was reported that SFOPS Chair Lowey (D-NY) sought to include an amendment to this text in the consensus Managers’ amendment submitted in the full committee mark-up. This effort was reportedly rebuffed by Republicans. Lowey subsequently offered the amendment herself – an amendment stripping out the reporting requirement entirely. That amendment was opposed by GOP committee members, and eventually passed by voice vote. Meaning the reporting language will not be in the version of the bill that goes to the House floor.
The Report includes a table laying out Development Assistance (DA), including for the Near East, allocated as follows:
- Morocco – $10 million
- Refugee Scholarships – $8 million [“The Committee recommendation includes funds to continue the university scholarship pilot program for refugees in Lebanon. Such funds are in addition to funds made available for assistance for Lebanon under Economic Support Fund. The USAID Administrator is directed to consult with the Committees on Appropriations on an ongoing basis on how the program will be administered consistent with the Lebanon scholarship program at not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet the standards required for American accreditation, and other matters related to implementation”].
- The Report also notes, under the title “Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central America”: “Eastern Mediterranean Partnership joint dialogues.—The recommendation includes $2,000,000 under this heading, to be made available until expended, and to be transferred to the Economic Support Fund, to establish an annual joint dialogue in the United States with Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. The dialogue shall be con-ducted on an annual basis and shall support the joint declaration signed by the Secretary of State on March 21, 2019 to ‘increase regional cooperation; to support energy independence and security; and to defend against external malign influences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East.’ The dialogues shall also support successful implementation of the Eastern Mediterranean Partnerships Security and Partnership Act (title II of Division J of Public Law 116–94). The dialogues shall include the participation of career government personnel, including both foreign service and non-foreign service personnel, of the Departments of State, Defense and Energy and their counterparts in the Governments of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. Officials from other United States Government agencies and departments, and their respective counterparts, may also participate in the dialogues, as appropriate. The funds specified by this Act shall be made available to pay for the costs of hosting the dialogues, including costs incurred by the governments of Israel, Greece, Cyprus for participation by officials of such governments.”
MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE – MRA (Total: $ $3,432,000,000,]
The bill stipulates that, “$5,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.” [This is a perennial earmark that started out years ago – as a much larger number – when large numbers of Jews were coming to Israel from the former Soviet Union. In recent years it has leveled out at $5 million per year, which given the numbers of actual “refugees” Israel is absorbing these days is a huge amount per person, per capita].
The Report states:
- “Refugees in the Middle East.—The Committee encourages the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator, as appropriate, to ensure that the diplomatic and assistance needs of countries in the region offering safe haven to Syrian refugees are being ad-dressed, including through assistance to host communities.”
- “Resettlement in Israel.—The Committee recommendation includes $5,000,000 for refugees from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Eu-rope, and other refugees resettling in Israel, which is the same as the request and similar to language carried in prior years.”
- “United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).—The Committee remains concerned over the continued suspension of United States support for UNRWA. After nearly 70-years of United States contributions, which had been on average one-third of UNRWA’s annual budget, the suspension of assistance has left UNRWA struggling to raise the funds needed to deliver basic humanitarian services. The continued withholding of United States assistance in the absence of an alternative operational, humanitarian organization will only lead to higher rates of poverty, fuel extremism, and further reduce the prospects for peace. The Committee further notes that UNRWA’s operations are independent and not under the authority of governing entities in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan.”
- “Reports – United Nations Relief and Works Agency.—The Committee is concerned that the Department of State has not submitted the report required under section 7048 of House Report 116–78. The Committee directs the Department to immediately provide the report required in the FY 2020 House report. Further, the Committee directs that, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations detailing the rationale behind the determination by the Department of State to maintain the suspension of assistance to UNRWA. Such a report shall also contain a detailed comparison of UNRWA’s human development and humanitarian services for each of the seven decades of UNRWA’s operation, to include: (1) the number of Palestinians receiving services in UNRWA health facilities, including child survival and maternal mortality rates, vaccination rates, and availability of needed medical supplies, including contraception; (2) living conditions, including the number of UNRWA-built temporary housing, long-term housing, and camps; (3) the number of UNRWA-operated schools and the total number of students enrolled in school, disaggregated by age, sex, and education level (pre-primary, primary, secondary, post-secondary/non- higher education, vocational training and higher education); (4) graduation versus drop-out rates from all UNRWA-operated schools, disaggregated by age, sex, and education level; and (5) job placement rates following completion of higher education versus unemployment rates, disaggregated by age and sex.”
TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
The Report accompanying the bill includes a table laying out INCLE allocations, including for the Middle East & North Africa, as follows:
- Egypt – $2 million
- Tunisia – $13 million
NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS – NADR
This section of the bill includes a perennial stipulation that “…funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.”
PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS – PKO
The bill stipulates that, “…not less than $31,000,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.”
- The Report accompanying the bill states: “The Committee recommendation includes $31,000,000 for the Multinational Force and Observers Mission (MFO) in the Sinai. The Committee directs that funds made avail-able above the level of the United States contribution are intended to address ongoing force protection requirements and emerging needs to protect and sustain the MFO mission in the Sinai. The Committee notes the invaluable service provided by the MFO in preserving stability in a very volatile part of the world with relatively few personnel and a small budget. The Committee opposes any effort to weaken United States support for the MFO and directs that no funds shall be provided to withdraw troops from the MFO without the explicit consent and prior approval of the appropriate congressional committees.”
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING – FMF (TOTAL: $ 6,156,924,000 – of which more than 50% is earmarked for Israel]
[See the bill text in Section 7041, below, for details of FMF provisions for all Near East countries except Israel.]
Israel funding: The bill text states that: “not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act.” The text includes perennial stipulation that “…to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel under this heading shall, as agreed by the United States and Israel, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $ $795,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development.”
NOTE: As highlighted previously in the Round-Up, these little-remarked stipulations – early disbursal and permission for almost $800 million of FMF to be spent inside Israel – are unique to Israel’s aid program. Both significantly increase the value of the assistance to Israel and the cost of the assistance to the U.S. In all other cases, FMF is obligated and disbursed by the U.S. on an as-used basis, meaning that the U.S. either keeps the money in the U.S. Treasury until it is needed (where it earns interest) or if the money is not in the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. does not have to borrow it until it is needed (meaning less interest paid). In the case of Israel, the entire amount is handed over in a lump sum within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however and wherever it likes). In addition, in all other cases, FMF must be spent inside the U.S. (unless a specific exemption is granted). The logic behind this is that FMF is not just a “gift” to a foreign country but is actually a form of investment in the U.S. economy. In Israel’s case, however, almost $800 million of FMF may be used in Israel, rather than for the benefit of U.S. industry (this amount is gradually being phased out, but between now and the time it is phased out completely it still represents billions of dollars).
In addition, the Report accompanying the bill states:
- “The Committee recommendation includes $3,300,000,000 in grants for military assistance to Israel, which is the same as the budget request. The Committee notes that the recommendation fully funds the third year of the ten-year Memorandum of Under-standing (MOU) between the United States and Israel. The Committee further notes the continued importance of Israel as a major strategic partner and ally of the United States in an unstable and critical region of the world. The Committee recognizes that the United States-Israel partnership is integral to United States national security interests in the region and supports the continuation of the MOU framework negotiated by the Obama Administration to strengthen the strategic partnership to the benefit of both the United States and Israel. The Committee emphasizes the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel and to ensuring that Israel’s qualitative military edge and defense capabilities are maintained. The Committee notes that Israel maintains the flexibility under the MOU to purchase jet fuel from the United States. Section 7035(b) includes language carried in the prior year designating an amount for the Special Defense Acquisition Fund. The Committee supports the use of this fund to transfer precision guided munitions and related defense articles and services to reserve stocks for Israel and the transfer of such stocks as necessary for Israel’s legitimate self-defense.”
The Report accompanying the bill includes a table laying out FMF allocations, including for the Middle East & North Africa, as follows:
- Israel- $3.3 billion
- Egypt – $1.3 billion
- Jordan: $425 million
TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 7007: Prohibition against direct funding for certain countries
This is perennial bill language banning aid to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria, extending to loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents.
Section 7008: Coups d’état (NOTE: change in perennial language)
This perennial bill provision (which caused Congress and the Obama Administration a headache over Egypt funding) barring US funding “shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” It also states that “assistance may be resumed to such government if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office” and that the prohibition in this section “shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.” The change in this year’s text is the funding to which this section applies. In past law (including the FY20 SFOPS law) this provision applied to Titles III through VI of the bill – i.e., it applied to Bilateral Economic Assistance (Title III), International Security Assistance (Title IV), Multilateral Assistance (Title V) and Export and Investment Assistance (Title VI). This year, the provision has been changed to apply to ESF and funding under Titles IV through VI – meaning that the Committee has decided to exempt non-ESF Title III funding from the requirement of this provision (i.e., Development Assistance, International Disaster Assistance, Economic Support Fund (ESF), Democracy Fund, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and Millennium challenge Corporation, etc).
Section 7013: Prohibition on taxation of assistance
This is a perennial bill provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza [a requirement that is today irrelevant, since between Trump Administration policy and the Taylor Force Act funding has been cut off]. This singling out of the Palestinians reflects the genesis of the provision: long-past allegations that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), and thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.
Section 7015: Notification Requirements
Part (f) of this provision states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to a laundry list of countries, “except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.” From the Middle East, the list includes (this year): Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Section 7021: Prohibition on assistance to governments supporting international terrorism
Perennial bill provision prohibiting funding to any country “which provides lethal military equipment to a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined supports international terrorism…” and prohibits bilateral assistance to any country that supports international terrorism, gives sanctuary to terrorist, or is controlled by a terrorist organization. The section includes national security waivers for both restrictions.
Section 7032: Democracy Programs
Part (a) of this section of the bill earmarks not less than $2,400,500,000 for democracy programs, (as defined later in this provision). Part (e) states that funding and programs under this section “shall not be subject to the prior approval by the government of any foreign country.”
Section 7034: Special Provisions
Part (n)(1) of this section of the bill allows funding to be made available “for the costs, as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, of loan guarantees for Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, and Ukraine, which are authorized to be provided…” It also states that “amounts made available under this paragraph for the costs of such guarantees shall not be considered assistance for the purposes of provisions of law limiting assistance to a country.”
Section 7035: Law Enforcement and Security
Part (a)(2) provides funding for counterterrorism partnerships for programs “in areas liberated from, under the influence of, or adversely affected by, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other terrorist organizations,” including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Part (b)(4) of this section of the bill is a perennial provision providing for financing of commercial leasing of defense articles to Israel, Egypt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and major non-NATO allies.
Part (c)(2) lays out limitations related to landmines and cluster munitions.
Part (c)(4) states that “Funds appropriated by this Act should not be used for tear gas, small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control purposes for foreign security 6forces that use excessive force to repress peaceful expression, association, or assembly in countries that the Secretary of State determines are undemocratic or are undergoing democratic transitions.”
Section 7036: Arab league boycott of Israel
Perennial bill text, in the form of a Sense of Congress opposing the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel.
- The Report accompanying the bill exploits this provision to (once again) attack boycotts of both Israel and settlements that are NOT coerced by the Arab League or any party, but are a matter of individuals’ voluntary exercise of political free speech, noting: (as it did in the previous 2 years): “The Committee is concerned about international efforts to stigmatize and isolate Israel through the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The Committee directs, as part of the annual report to Congress on the Arab League Boycott of Israel, that the President add information about the BDS campaign, covering companies, international organizations, countries, and other organizations, including state investment vehicles, that are involved in promoting the movement, as well as specific steps the Department of State has taken and expects to take to discourage or end politically-motivated efforts to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel or Israeli entities. The Committee further directs the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to strengthen policies and procedures to ensure organizations supported through funding are not participants in such efforts.”
Section 7037: Palestinian statehood
Perennial bill provision barring (with extensive language) assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial Presidential waiver authority).
Section 7038: Prohibition on Assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp
Perennial language (dating back years) barring any U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Section 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
Perennial section laying out far-reaching restrictions and conditions, as well as vetting, oversight and audit requirements, for U.S. assistance programs (carried out through non-governmental organizations) in the West Bank and Gaza. The section provides up to $1 to be spent on audits, investigations “and other activities in furtherance of this subsection”
Section 7040: Limitation on Assistance for the Palestinian Authority
Perennial bill language that in Part (a) bans U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and in Part (b) grants the President authority to waive that ban if doing so is “important to the national security interest of the United States.” In addition, to use this waiver the President must certify to Congress (among other things) that the PA “is supporting activities aimed at promoting peace, coexistence, and security cooperation with Israel.” NOTE: This is about $$ provided directly to the PA, as opposed to aid not directly for the PA but that “benefits” the PA (which is what the Taylor Force Act targets).
The section also includes a perennial subsection (f) entitled “Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization” (lumping together a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people that is NOT on the list of U.S.-designated FTO since that list was first published in 1997). This subsection bars funding to the PLO and for salaries of PA personnel in Gaza or for Hamas or any entity “effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.” The formulation in this legislation is designed to make it difficult for the U.S. engage any kind of Palestinian power-sharing government that results from a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, or some other arrangements that leads to a national unity government or a mutually-agreed technocratic government (indeed, the text of the subsection evolved in recent years in response to Palestinian efforts to achieve such governments).
The section does includes language of past bills stipulating that the prohibition does not apply if the President “certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, has publicly accepted and is complying with the principles contained in section 620K(b)(1) (A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.” It also includes the proviso that, “the President may exercise the authority in section 620K(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as added by the Palestine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-446) with respect to this subsection.”
As a reminder: Section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, reads as follows:
(b) Certification.–A certification described in subsection (a) is a certification transmitted by the President to Congress that contains a determination of the President that–
(1) no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority is effectively controlled by Hamas, unless the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority has–
(A) publicly acknowledged the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist; and
(B) committed itself and is adhering to all previous agreements and understandings with the United States Government, with the Government of Israel, and with the international community, including agreements and understandings pursuant to the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (commonly referred to as the `Roadmap’).
And 620K(e) reads as follows:
(e) National Security Waiver.–
(1) In general.–Subject to paragraph (2), the President may waive subsection (a) with respect to-
(A) the administrative and personal security costs of the Office of the President of the Palestinian Authority;
(B) the activities of the President of the Palestinian Authority to fulfill his or her duties as President, including to maintain control of the management and security of border crossings, to foster the Middle East peace process, and to promote democracy and the rule of law; and
(C) assistance for the judiciary branch of the Palestinian Authority and other entities.
(2) Certification.–The President may only exercise the waiver authority under paragraph (1) after–
(A) consulting with, and submitting a written policy justification to, the appropriate congressional committees; and
(B) certifying to the appropriate congressional committees that–
(i) it is in the national security interest of the United States to provide assistance otherwise prohibited under subsection (a); and
(ii) the individual or entity for which assistance is proposed to be provided is not a member of, or effectively controlled by (as the case may be), Hamas or any other foreign terrorist organization.
(3) Report.—Not later than 10 days after exercising the waiver authority under paragraph (1), the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing how the funds provided pursuant to such waiver will be spent and detailing the accounting procedures that are in place to ensure proper oversight and accountability.
(4) Treatment of certification as notification of program change.–For purposes of this subsection, the certification required under paragraph (2)(B) shall be deemed to be a notification under section 634A and shall be considered in accordance with the procedures applicable to notifications submitted pursuant to that section.
Section 7041: Middle East & North Africa
[This section consolidates aid provisions for the entire Middle East, except for Israel and some provisions related to the Palestinians, as well as various other provisions that in the past were elsewhere in the bill.]
Section 7041 (a). Egypt
Overall conditions on aid: This section of the bill stipulates that funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for Egypt “may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law restricting assistance for Egypt, except for section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and may only be made available for assistance for the Government of Egypt if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is—(A) sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.”
Reminder: Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 states that “No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” It adds that this prohibition “shall not apply if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective steps to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.”
ESF: The bill earmarks for Egypt up to $125 million in ESF, of which up to $40 million “should be made available for higher education programs,” including $15 million for scholarships; provided that such funds “shall be made available for democracy programs, and for development programs in the Sinai” and provided that such funds “may not be available for cash transfer assistance or budget support unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Egypt is taking consistent and effective steps to stabilize the economy and implement market-based economic reforms.”
FMF: The bill earmarks up to $1.3 billion in FMF for Egypt, to remain available until September 30, 2022 (and stipulates that these funds may be transferred to the interest bearing account – a benefit granted to Egypt years ago by Congress to try to create some symmetry with Israel’s early disbursal provision). The bill stipulates that 20% of such funds “shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is taking, on a sustained and effective basis, the steps enumerated under this section in the report accompanying this Act.” The section stipulates that the certification does not apply to funding for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt.
WAIVER: The bill also provides the Secretary of State authority to waive the certification requirement – with respect to 95% of the withheld amount – for national security interests. The remaining 5% that is withheld can only be provided to Egypt “if the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt has completed action to provide fair and commensurate compensation to American citizen April Corley for injuries suffered by Egyptian armed forces on September 13, 2015.” It also notes that “none of the funds withheld pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall be transferred to the interest bearing account referenced in subparagraph (A) until the determination in the preceding sentence has been provided to the Committees on Appropriations.”
- The funding tables contained in the Report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Egypt as follows: ESF: $125 million; INCLE: $2 million; NADR: $3 million; IMET: $1.8 million; FMF: $1.3 billion (Total: $1,431,800,000)
- Additional comments/stipulations in the Report: “The Committee notes the United States and Egypt share a mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, economic opportunity, and regional security. Since the Camp David Accords, United States assistance to Egypt has played a central role in the country’s economic and military development. The Committee recognizes the enduring Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement as well as Egypt’s ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and counter Iran’s malign influence in the region. Promoting a stable, democratic, and prosperous Egypt, where the government empowers civil society and protects human rights, should continue to be a core objective of United States policy.”
- “The Committee encourages the USAID Administrator to implement programs that assist orphans and vulnerable children in Egypt, including children from religiously diverse populations.”
- “The Committee encourages the Department of State to prioritize the security of energy infrastructure in the Sinai, including increasing economic development programs, particularly for Bedouin communities.”
- The Report also lays out substantial reporting requirements with respect to Egypt, dealing with Governance and Human Rights; Military restructure; End-Use Monitoring; American Citizens; and Religious Freedom (see the Report for details, pp 104-105).
Section 7041 (b) Iran
This section of the bill states that funding in the bill (under Diplomatic Programs, ESF, and NADR) “shall be made available for the programs and activities described under this section in the report accompanying this Act.” In addition, this section of the bill requires the Secretary of State to submit two reports to Congress:
(A) the semi-annual report required by section 135 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)), as added by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–17).
(B) Not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, a report on “(i) the status of United States bilateral sanctions on Iran; (ii) the reimposition and renewed enforcement of secondary sanctions; and (iii) the impact such sanctions have had on Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East.”
- The Report notes: “Subsection (b) continues language from the prior year. Pursuant to paragraph (1), funds appropriated under Diplomatic Programs, Economic Support Fund, and Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs shall be made available for the following: (1) to support the United States policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or other-wise obtain a nuclear weapon; (2) to support an expeditious response to any violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions or to efforts that advance Iran’s nuclear program; (3) to sup-port the implementation, enforcement, and renewal of sanctions against Iran for its support of nuclear weapons development, terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation; and (4) for democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.”
- “Sanctions.— …the Secretary of State shall report on Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as well as on the status of United States bilateral sanctions on Iran, the re-imposition and renewed enforcement of secondary sanctions, and the impact such sanctions have had on Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East. Such report shall also include any entities involved in providing significant support for the development of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran, including shipping and financing, and note whether such entities are currently under United States sanctions. The report shall be submitted in an unclassified form and contain a classified annex if necessary.”
Section 7041 (c) Iraq
This section stipulates that funds under Titles III and IV of the Act “shall be made available for assistance to Iraq “for bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance…and for programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq as described under this section in the report accompanying the Act.” This section also stipulates that no funds in this Act may be used “to enter into a permanent basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq.”
- The Report includes extensive language related to funding for Iraq (p 101-102, and related reports (p106)
Section 7041 (d) Jordan
The bill earmarks $1.525 billion for Jordan, of which not less than $800 million of ESF funding in the bill “shall be for made available for budget support for the Government of Jordan” and not less than $425 million “shall be for made available under heading ‘Foreign Military Financing Program.”
- The funding table in the Report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Jordan as follows: ESF – $997.4 million;; NADR – $13.6 million; IMET – $4 million; FMF – $425 million, DA – $85 million (Total: $1.525 billion).
- The Report notes: “The Committee notes the importance of the relationship with the Kingdom of Jordan and the strong leadership that Jordan continues to play in advancing peace and stability in the region. The Department of State should continue to support critical economic aid and to provide the assistance needed to ensure Jordan’s ongoing stability, including to strengthen Jordan’s borders with Iraq and Syria and to help mitigate the impact of hosting large numbers of refugees.”
Section 7041 (e) Lebanon
The bill text states that funds under titles III and IV “shall be made available for assistance to Lebanon.” It also states that ESF funding may be made available “notwithstanding section 1224 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107–228; 22 U.S.C. 2346 note).”
This section also stipulated that INCLE and FMF funding for Lebanon “may be made available for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) or the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by the conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees.” It notes further that FMF funding for Lebanon is subject to additional oversight and consultation with Congress, and may only be used to: “(i) professionalize the LAF to mitigate internal and external threats from non-state actors, including Hizballah; (ii) strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure the borders of Lebanon and address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, interdicting arms shipments, and preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups; and (iii) implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.” It adds that no funding shall be made to the ISF or LAF if either is “controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).”
- The Report accompanying the bill states: “The Committee recommendation includes funds for scholarships for Lebanese students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for American accreditation. Students in Lebanon should be eligible for scholarships if they demonstrate financial need, have strong academic records, and show potential to contribute to the long-term political, eco-nomic, and social development of Lebanon. The Committee directs that these funds be awarded through an open and competitive process.”
- The Report also notes: “The Committee intends that assistance provided to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) will not be used against Israel, and such assistance will not affect Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. The Committee notes that section 7041(e) prohibits funds for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces or the LAF if either organization is controlled by a foreign terrorist organization and the Committee directs the Secretary of State to regularly consult with the Committee regarding the rigorous implementation of this provision and on the activities of the LAF and assistance provided by the United States. The Committees includes further language under Reports in this heading.”
- “Lebanon.—Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit to the Committees on Appropriations an updated report, in classified form if necessary, on the performance of the LAF, including an assessment of the operational capabilities of such forces and how the training, curriculum, and equipment provided by the United States contributes to those capabilities.”
- See pp 106-107 of the Report for details of other required reports on Lebanon and UNIFIL.
Section 7041 (f) Libya
This section states simply: “Prior to the initial obligation of funds made available by this Act for assistance for Libya, the Secretary of State shall certify and report to the Committees on Appropriations that all practicable steps have been taken to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such funds.”
Section 7041 (h) Morocco
This section stipulates funds under Title III “shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara.” It also stipulates that FMF for Morocco “may only be used for the purposes requested in the Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2017.”
- The Report notes: “The Committee recognizes the longstanding partnership between the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco based on mutual interests of stability, tolerance and economic prosperity in the Middle East and Africa. The Committee encourages the Secretary of State to strengthen this partnership to defeat terrorism and violent extremist groups, namely in the Sahel region, as well as to counter Iran’s malign influence in the region.”
Section 7041 (h) Saudi Arabia
This section states simply that: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘International Military Education and Training’’ may be made available for assistance for the Government of Saudi Arabia.”
- The Report notes: “The Committee urges the Secretary of State to consider barring from entry into the United States, pursuant to section 7031(c) of this Act, the individuals listed in the assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) who carried out, participated in, or were otherwise responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Consulate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.”
Section 7041 (j) Syria
This section states that “Funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, including for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations.” Such funding, however, may not be made available for 3 things: (1) “a project or activity that supports or otherwise legitimizes the Government of Iran, foreign terrorist organizations…or a proxy of Iran in Syria;” (2) “activities that further the strategic objectives of the Government of the Russian Federation that may threaten or undermine United States national security interests” and (3) “in areas of Syria controlled by a government led by Bashar al-Assad or associated forces.” This section also lays out monitoring/oversight and consultation/notification requirements.
- The Report notes: “The Committee recommendation includes $40,000,000 for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, including $7,000,000 for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations.” [See report for further Committee views, and see pp. 107 for details of required reports on Syria]
Section 7041 (j) Tunisia
This subsection of the bill states: “Of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act, not less than $191,400,000 shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia.”
- The funding table in the Report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Tunisia as follows: DA – $40 million; ESF – $45 million; INCLE – $13 million; NADR – $6.1 million; IMET – $2.3 million; FMF – $85 million (Total: $191.4 million).
- The Report notes: “The Committee notes that a stable and viable democratic Tunisia is critical to regional security. The Committee supports the government of Tunisia’s efforts to continue improving the security situation in the country, democratic governance, and economic reform.”
Section 7041 (k) West Bank and Gaza
General: Part 1 of this section is a perennial requirement that prior to the obligation of any funds for the West Bank and Gaza, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress that the purpose of such assistance is to: “(A) advance Middle East peace; (B) improve security in the region; (C) continue support for transparent and accountable government institutions; (D) promote a private sector economy; or (E) address urgent humanitarian needs.”
Palestinians at the UN & ICC: Part 2 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority. Part 2(A) bars any ESF funding for the PA if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” [NOTE – given the ongoing case at the ICC, this latter condition has long been overtaken by events]. This section provides the Secretary of State the authority to waive the ban on assistance to the PA in the case where the Palestinians gain status at the UN if he “certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national security interest of the United States, and submits a report to such Committees detailing how the waiver and the continuation of assistance would assist in furthering Middle East peace.” No waiver is provided if the Palestinians go to the ICC.
Kicking the PLO Office Out of the U.S.: Part 2(B) limits the President’s ability to waive longstanding (and anachronistic) legislation barring the PLO from having any representation in the United States. Where for decades Congress granted the President a “clean” national security or national interests waiver of that prohibition (contained in section 1003 of Public Law 100-204), in recent years Congress moved to make such waiver contingent on the President certifying that the Palestinians have not, after the date of enactment of this Act, “obtained in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or “initiated or actively supported an ICC investigation against Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”
If the president cannot make that two-part certification, he must wait at least 90 days (during which the PLO office should be shut down), and then he may waive the law requiring him to kick the PLO out of the U.S. – but only for a limited period of time, and only if he can certify that “the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel” [a requirement whose fulfillment is not wholly under the Palestinians’ control]. NOTE: All of this language regarding waiving Section 1003 of PL 100-204, in order to allow the PLO office to keep operating in Washington, is for now moot, given that the Trump Administration refrained from making said certification in November 2017 and months later (a delay that violated the law) forced the PLO to close its mission in Washington. Moreover, even if a future Administration wanted to bring the PLO back to DC, the current case before the ICC would make using this waiver – as presently drafted — impossible.
Taylor Force Act (NEW): Part 3 of this section notes that no funding may be made available for the West Bank and Gaza in contravention of PL115-141, the Taylor Force Act (and Act that, in effect, preemptively blacklists all West Bank/Gaza programs, and forces the State Department to individually white list them, making the case in each instance why the program does not benefit the PA). [This subsection replaces a subsection in prior laws reducing funding to the Palestinians by the amount spent on PA assistance for families of Palestinians imprisoned or killed by Israel – a section rendered redundant by the passage into law of the Taylor Force Act]
Security report: Part 4 – a requirement that appeared for the first time in a couple of years ago – states that “The reporting requirements contained in section 1404 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-252) shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.”
As a reminder, Section 1404 of PL 110-252 states: “Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report on assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment provided; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and a description of the assistance that has been pledged and provided to Palestinian security forces by other donors: Provided, That not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in classified form if necessary, on the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.”
Incitement report: Part 6 of this section (which, again, appeared in recent years — this section just gets longer and longer), requiring, “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.”
The Report notes:
- “The Committee recommendation includes $225,000,000 under Economic Support Fund from this and prior Acts for humanitarian and development programs in the West Bank and Gaza that help address the needs of the Palestinian people, which may include support for UNRWA. Such funds are subject to the conditions on assistance of this Act and of section 1004(a) of the Taylor Force Act (title X of division S of Public Law 115–141). In accordance with the exceptions in the Taylor Force Act, the Committee directs that assistance be made available for the East Jerusalem Hospital Net-work, for wastewater projects, and for any other program, project, or activity that provides vaccination to children.”
- “Pursuant to subsection (k)(4), the Committee recommendation includes up to $50,000,000 for private sector partnerships for the West Bank and Gaza should such funds be authorized.”
- “Israelis and Palestinians.—The Committee reaffirms its commitment to supporting United States actions that promote peace be-tween Israel and the Palestinians. The Committee further reaffirms the long-standing bipartisan support for a negotiated two- state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that a lasting two-state solution is essential to the achievement of long-term peace and stability in the broader region. The Committee urges both sides to refrain from unilateral steps that may jeopardize the eventual possibility of a two-state solution and threaten to push the parties even farther from the negotiating table.”
- “The Committee notes with concern that the Administration has not programmed the $75,000,000 appropriated under Economic Support Fund in the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020. The Committee directs that the fiscal year 2020 funds are to be notified and obligated in addition to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2021 Act.”
Section 7041 (l) Yemen
This subsection of the bill states that, “Funds appropriated under title III of this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs shall be made available for global health, humanitarian, and stabilization assistance for Yemen.”
- The Report notes: “Subsection (1) includes funds under Economic Support Fund for stabilization efforts in Yemen. Additionally, funds are made available under International Disaster Assistance and Migration and Refugee assistance to continue the provision of humanitarian assistance.”
- The Report also states: “Humanitarian needs.—The Committee remains concerned about the significant humanitarian needs in Yemen and the lack of consistent access to allow relief to be provided. Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator, shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations that addresses delivery of humanitarian assistance, including: (1) access for humanitarian organizations to deliver assistance; (2) the capacity of Yemeni ports to receive commercial and humanitarian goods; (3) other impediments to the de-livery of assistance to populations in need; and (4) the conditions required to transition from humanitarian assistance to longer-term development assistance. The Committee also recognizes the importance of fuel to alleviating the humanitarian crisis, including access into all Red Sea ports, which are critical lifelines for the Yemeni population.”
Other things in the Report under this section:
- “Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).—The Committee sup-ports continued funding for the MEPI scholarship program. Scholarships should be made available for institutions that meet standards comparable to those required for American accreditation and should be awarded in a manner consistent with prior fiscal years, including on an open and competitive basis.”
- “Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC).—The Committee supports continued funding for the MERC program to facilitate research collaboration in the Middle East, including between Israelis and Palestinians.”
- “USAID-Israel international development cooperation.—The Committee is supportive of cooperative projects and the recommendation includes $2,000,000 to support local solutions to address sustainability challenges relating to water resources, agriculture, and energy storage.”
Section 7046: Europe and Eurasia
Part (e) of this section deals with Turkey. Part A bars funds to facilitate or support the sale of defense articles or defense services to the Turkish Presidential Protection Directorate (TPPD), unless the Secretary of State certifies that all TPPD members named in the 7/17/17 indictment by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and against whom there are pending charges have returned to the US to stand trial or have otherwise been brought to justice (a limitation that does not apply to funding border security purposes, NATO or coalition operations, or to enhance the protection of US officials and facilities in Turkey). In addition, “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs, may be made available to transfer or deliver, or to facilitate the transfer or delivery of, F-35 aircraft to Turkey, including any defense articles or services related to such aircraft, until the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of no longer possesses the Russian S-400 missile defense system or any other equipment, materials, or personnel associated with such system and has provided credible assurances that the Government of Turkey will not in the future accept delivery of such system.”
Section 7048: United Nations
This section includes perennial provisions targeting the United Nations, including:
No $$ for agencies headed by bad guys: Part (b) of this section prohibits funding expenses for expenses for any US delegation to anything having to do with, or contributions to any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN that is chaired or presided over by a country, the government of which the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, “supports international terrorism.” In addition, it bars US contributions to any organization, agency, commission, or program within the United Nations system if such organization, agency, commission, or program is chaired or presided over by a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined “has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This section includes authority for the Secretary of state to waive this prohibition if it is important for the national interest of the United States.
Pressure on UN Human Rights Council (over Israel): This section provides that funding shall be made available for the UNHRC “unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that participation in the Council does not serve the national interest of the United States and that the Council is neither taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item nor taking actions to ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.” The section goes on to stipulate that such report opposing funding for the UNHRC, shall “include a description of how the national interest is better served by the United States not being a member of the Council.” In addition, this section requires the Secretary to report to Congress by September 30, 2021, “on the resolutions considered in the United Nations Human Rights Council during the previous 12 months, and on steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.”
UNRWA: Part (d) of this section of the bill stipulates that funds appropriated by this Act under title III SHALL [note this word – making this is a hard earmark] be made available to UNRWA unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that UNRWA is not meeting a long list of benchmarks (benchmarks that have been basically consistent for a number of years and that UNRWA has satisfied).
Pressure on UNESCO & Other UN Agencies (over Israel): Part (f) requires reporting to Congress on any U.S. contributions to international organizations that are withheld due to any provision of law [for example, U.S. funding to UNESCO, barred because UNESCO admitted the Palestinians as full members].
Report language related to the UN/Middle East:
- “Anti-Israel bias at the United Nations.—The Committee remains concerned about continued anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and supports the withholding of a proportionate share of the costs to entities deemed to be anti-Israel, which in the past have included the Division for Palestinian Rights in the Department of Political Affairs; the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. The Committee includes further language under Reports in this heading”
- “Annual report on anti-Israel bias.—The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations describing instances of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, including identification of the agencies and entities where such bias has been demonstrated in the past. Such report may accompany the annual report submitted pursuant to section 4(a) of Public Law 79–264 on United States participation in the United Nations.”
- “UN Human Rights Council.—…The Committee remains concerned about the credibility and effectiveness of UNHRC and notes with disappointment the ascension to UNHRC of countries with poor human rights records. The Committee is also concerned with the continued, disproportionate focus of UNHRC on Israel and its anti-Israel bias. The Committee continues to disapprove of UNHRC resolution A/HRC/31/L.39, which is counterproductive to achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Committee includes further language under Reports in this heading.”
- “UNHRC.—The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit an updated report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, on all United States contributions to the UNHRC for the preceding fiscal year, including amounts provided through the UN Regular Budget and through voluntary contributions.”
Section 7060. Sector Allocations
Part (g), entitled “Reconciliation Programs,” states that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Development 8Assistance’’, not less than $30,000,000 shall be made available to support people-to-people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war, including cross-border programs between Israelis and Palestinians.”
TITLE IX – MIDDLE EAST PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE
“Beginning on the date that is one year after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development is authorized to establish a program to provide funding for projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians and for a sustainable two-state solution. The program established under this subsection shall be known as the ‘People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund.’”
The section stipulates that in providing funding for projects through the Fund, the Administrator “may provide support for qualified organizations, prioritizing those organizations that seek to build better cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, including Palestinian organizations, Israeli organizations, and international organizations that bring Israelis and Palestinians together.”
It further stipulates that “In providing funding for projects through the Fund, The Administrator may additionally provide support to qualified organizations that further shared community building, peaceful co-existence, dialogue, and reconciliation between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.”
The legislation goes on to lay out details regarding contributions to the Fund, an Advisory Board, and the “Joint Investment for Peace Initiative,” including limitations (no assistance to a national government of a foreign country, no assistance for anyone determined to be “involved in, or advocating, terrorist activity” or a member of a FTO; no assistance for the PA or PLO). The authority for the fund, as stipulated in this legislation, is for 10 years.
3. Hearings & Mark-Ups
7/9: The House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY21 SFOPS Appropriations bill. See Section 2, above, for details.
7/6: The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations marked up the FY21 SFOPS Appropriations bill. See Section 2, above, for details.
4. On the Record...
Members on the Record…
Calvert (R-CA) 7/10: Tweet – “The special U.S.-Israel relationship includes the exchange of science + technology to the benefit of both nations. I have agreed to cosponsor H.R. 6829 to create a U.S.-Israel cooperative grant program to leverage American/Israeli health care research to combat COVID-19.”
Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) 7/9: Tweet – “Many of the people actually “cancelled” are those long denied a fair hearing of their ideas to begin w/: Palestinian human rights advocates Abolitionists Anticapitalists Anti-imperialists Not spicy “contrarians” who want to play devils advocate w/ your basic rights in the NYT”
Frankel (D-FL) 7/9: Tweet Re FY21 SFOPS – “Making sure Israel has the ability to defend itself is critical to our own national security. We must also continue to build on our shared values. This bill will also expand the reach of our important partnership in international development & improve lives around the world”
Van Hollen (D-MD) 7/9: U.S. military aid must not be used to facilitate annexation
Cardin (D-MD) & Wicker (R-MS) 7/7: Cardin, Wicker Commend United Kingdom Magnitsky Sanctions on Russian and Saudi Officials
Castro (D-TX) 7/7: Tweet – “I had a great conversation with @JeremyBenAmi and @JStreet
to discuss the developments on U.S.-Israel relations. It’s clear the United States should not enable any attempt by Netanyahu to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank.” [Also see Ben-Ami tweet – “Great to chat with @JoaquinCastrotx re annexation and the direction of US foreign policy generally. We need principled, pro-diplomacy leadership in Congress on these issues, grounded in belief in democracy and human rights. Really appreciate your leadership.”
Khanna (D-CA) & Smith (D-WA) 7/6: RELEASE: Khanna, Smith Statement in Support of UN Envoy Martin Griffiths Peace Efforts in Yemen
Cruz (R-TX) 7/6: Twitter – “Our dependence on China for life-saving medications is a national security risk. That’s why @ChrisCoons & I introduced a bill, which will soon be passed by the Senate as a part of #NDAA, to expand #COVID19 medical partnerships with our ally, Israel.”
Grassley (R-IA) 7/4: Tweet – “.@realDonaldTrump #CommonSense u can name the 3or4 Presidents each who promised to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem NONE DELIVERED/Trump kept his promise NICE TO HV PRESIDENT WHO MOT [sic] ONLY RUNS ON A PROMISE BUT KEEPS IT” [Seriously – a senior senator tweeted this to the world]
Articles and Reports Related to the Hill
Times of Israel 7/10: Progressive pro-Israel groups back Senate amendment to ban US aid on annexation
Tom Friedman (NYT) 7/9: Tweet – “I hope every Democratic Senator supports @ChrisVanHollen in preventing US aid to Israel being used to support annexation”
Huffington Post 7/9: Israel Hawks Are Spending Big To Unseat Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar [an article spawning lots of jokes on Twitter noting the role of a money in politics]
Al Jazeera 7/9: Al Jazeera violates US law by not disclosing ties with Qatari royalty [“Al Jazeera, a Qatari state-owned news agency that supplies Middle East news in English to millions of readers, has been accused of violating US transparency laws in a report issued by a former member of US congress and endorsed by the United Arab Emirates.’]
Foreign Policy 7/7: Lawmakers Demand to See the Side Deals in Trump’s Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia
Al Monitor 7/7: House Democrats revive bid to fully restore Palestinian aid
Al Monitor 7/7: AIPAC rebukes Democrats again for bill to keep US aid out of annexation
Jewish Insider 7/7: House advances legislation pushing for Israeli-Palestinian partnerships
Jewish Insider 7/7: Nita Lowey looks back on more than 30 years in Congress [“...Her work advocating for pro-Israel causes, she said, is a part of her legacy she views as particularly important. ‘The work that I’ve done regarding the Israel-United States relationship almost makes me feel as [though] I’m carrying on l’dor v’dor, the tradition,’ said the Bronx-born Lowey, who is Jewish and has long felt a kinship with Israel. ‘I think it’s very important to continue that relationship,’ said Lowey, adding her concern that partisan politics have, more recently, interfered with bipartisan support for the Jewish state…Lowey spoke affectionately of Netanyahu, whom she has known for decades.”]
JPost 7/7: AIPAC opposes act prohibiting Israel from using US funds for annexation
Haaretz 7/7: AIPAC Slams Democrats’ Proposal to Ban Israel From Using U.S. Aid Toward Annexation
Free Beacon 7/6: Civil Rights Group [the Lawfare Project] to Pelosi: Don’t Break the Law to Appease Israel Haters [“opposition to an Israeli plan to take over land in the contested West Bank area may violate U.S. law and constitutes ‘a clear and present danger to American national security interests in the Middle East.’”]
Al-Monitor 7/6: Intel: Senators berate Pentagon failure to sever F-35 cooperation with Turkey