*Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!
Responsible Statecraft, 11/12: Biden’s Israel-Palestine policy: A chance to restore and reset
American Prospect 11/12: Weaponizing Anti-Semitism, State Department Delegitimizes Human Rights Groups
(BUNKER BUSTERS FOR ISRAEL) HR 8733: Introduced 11/9 by Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Mast (R-FL), “To authorize the President to take actions to ensure Israel is prepared for all contingencies if Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
- As a reminder, news of this bill was broken back on 10/27 by the Jewish Insider, which reported that Gottheimer (D-NJ) and (R-FL) were “expected to introduce bipartisan legislation this week that would seek to provide Israel with the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, with the ability to strike at Iran’s well-protected nuclear facilities.”
- Gottheimer subsequently issued remarks announcing the legislation, noting “We must ensure our ally Israel is equipped and prepared to confront a full range of threats, including the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. That’s why I’m proud to be introducing this new bipartisan bill to defend Israel from Iran and Hezbollah and reinforce our historic ally’s qualitative military edge in the region with ‘bunker buster’ munitions. Iran and its terrorist proxies throughout the region must never be able to threaten the U.S. or Israel with a nuclear weapon. Truly, there should be nothing partisan about our national security, nor our relationship with our ally Israel.” Gottheimer also tweeted about the soon-to-be-introduced bill here.
- Media coverage when the bill was announced: Intel: New bill in Congress would push for Israel to get bunker-busting bombs (Al-Monitor); New bipartisan legislation seeks to guarantee Israel’s QME (Jerusalem Post); US senators [sic] push to sell bunker-busting bombs to Israel (Al Jazeera); Lawmakers push to send bunker-busting bombs to Israel (Politico); Bipartisan House bill will encourage US to sell bunker buster bombs to Israel (Times of Israel).
- Background from last time around: It is worth noting that this is not the first time members of Congress have sought to give Israel the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, aka, bunker buster bombs. For some background from arms control experts, see: The Massively Terrible Plan to Give Israel the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (Jeffrey Lewis in Foreign Policy, 10/1/15); This Big Bomb Should Not Go to Israel (Kingston Reif, War on the Rocks, 9/28/15); Why MOPs (for Israel) Are Really FLOPs (Ed Levine in Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, 9/8/15); Sending MOPs and Bombers to Israel: Big Mistake (Robert Farley in LobeLog, 9/9/15)
- Further background on how it played out last time: US offer of anti-Iran bomb lands as a dud in Israel (Julian Pecquet in Al Monitor, 9/21/15); Why U.S. Won’t Give Israel Bunker-Busting Bombs After All (Nathan Guttman in the Forward, 10/19/15 — excerpt: “as powerful as the MOP is in depriving enemies of their most guarded facilities, it is also, as demonstrated in recent months, a useful political tool. The MOP, it turns out, has been used to shield elected officials from criticism and to show their unwavering support for a Middle East ally whose own desire for the weapon was nonexistent”)
(FY21 SFOPS) S. XXXX: On 11/10, the Senate appropriations committee released draft text of its FY21 SFOPS bill. That bill includes (as always) far-ranging Middle East-related provisions, detailed in Section 2, below. Committee press release is here. Also detailed in Section 2 is the unusual path these bills are set to take (as in, not the normal legislative process).
(FY21 DEFENSE APPROPS) S. XXXX: On 11/10, the Senate appropriations committee released draft text of its FY21 Defense Appropriations bill along with the Committee’s Explanatory Statement and highlights. That bill includes (as always) significant funding for Israel as well as other Middle East-related provisions. Committee press release is here. Skipping the normal legislative process entirely, this text will now be the basis for negotiations with the House (see Section 2, below, for details of the unusual path approps are taking this year). Key things in this bill:
- $500 million for the Israeli Cooperative Programs, of which $73 million is for Iron Dome; $177 million is for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program, of which $50 million is for co-production activities in the U.S. and in Israel; $77 million is co-production activities of Arrow 3 Upper Tier systems in the United States and in Israel; and $173,000,000 shall be for the Arrow System Improvement Program including development of a long range, ground and airborne, detection suite.
- $250 million to reimburse Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman for enhanced border security.
(HUMANITARIAN AID TO GAZA) Pocan et al letter: On 10/23 (not previously reported in the Round-Up), Rep. Pocan (D-WI) led a letter, co-signed by 37 House colleagues (all Democrats) t0 SecState Pompeo, demanding “immediate release of humanitarian and medical assistance for people living in Gaza, in order to alleviate the extraordinary consequences of a surge in COVID-19 cases there.” Pocan tweet 10/23: “Last month, Gaza experienced an 84% increase in COVID-19 cases. You know what would help Palestine & Israel? If @SecPompeo immediately released humanitarian aid & medical assistance for the people in Gaza.“
Over the summer, the House completed its work on its version of the FY21 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (SFOPS) — for details, see Round-Ups from July 10, 2020 (with full details of the base text) and July 24, 2020 (with details of floor consideration & amendments).
On 11/10, the Senate Appropriations Committee releases its versions of the various FY21 appropriations bills, including SFOPS. The Committee’s press release is here. FY21 SFOPS, text is here; also see highlights and the Committee’s explanatory statement.
Unusually, the Senate Appropriations committee reportedly will NOT be holding public hearings on any of these FY21 approps bills, and that Senate leadership will NOT be bringing any of them to the Senate floor for debate/amendments/passage. Instead, it looks the Committee is seeking to go directly into negotiations with the House to resolve differences and arrive at consensus texts that can be passed in both chambers in an omnibus by December 13 (to keep the government from shutting down again). This Senate strategy depends on:
- House leadership playing ball;
- House and Senate negotiators agreeing to consensus texts (not an easy task in many areas);
- the preferences of president-elect Biden (which House leadership will certainly take into account);
- the preferences of lameduck-but-not-conceding President Trump (which Senate leadership will certainly take into account);
- how the debate over COVID-related funding is resolved.
If the House and Senate don’t come to agreement and move these bills in an omnibus by December 13, the government will again shut down (this time, in the middle of a pandemic). It is improbable that either party will want or allow this to happen, so a continuing resolution (CR) is in that case highly likely, with the question then becoming: will it be a “clean” CR (i.e., one that literally has nothing it in but funding to maintain current government operations at current levels) or will it become a “Christmas Tree” CR, (i.e., one on which members seek to hang amendments of all kinds, germane and non-germane). Only time will tell, but of the three options — omnibus, clean CR, Christmas Tree CR — the latter seems the most likely.
Full Middle East-related details of the Senate’s FY21 SFOPS (which with respect to these details is similar, but not identical, to the House version) are below:
TITLE I – DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY
INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING OPERATIONS – The bill makes available $643,232,000 “For necessary expenses to enable the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM)…to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East…” Of these funds $96,773,000 is for Middle East Broadcasting Networks, subject to various oversight conditions.
CENTER FOR MIDDLE EASTERN-WESTERN DIALOGUE TRUST FUND – Perennial 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 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.”
TITLE III – BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
COMPLEX CRISES FUND – The bill provides $30 million “For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of section 509(b) of the Global Fragility Act of 2019…to remain available until expended” The text stipulates that such funds may be made available “notwithstanding any other provision of law, except sections 7007, 7008, and 7018 of this Act and section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.” [As a 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.”]
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (DA) – A table in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the report breaks down DA to the Middle East as follows:
- Lebanon — $7,550,000
- Morocco — $10,000,000
- Tunisia — $40,000,000
ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND (ESF) – The bill provides $3,248,497,000, in ESF, to remain available until September 30, 2022. A table in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the report breaks down ESF to the Middle East (totaling $1,924,500,000) as follows:
- Egypt — $125,000,000
- Iraq — $125,000,000
- Jordan — $1,207,400,000
- Lebanon — $100,000,000
- Libya — $23,100,000
- Morocco — $10,000,000
- Syria — $21,000,000
- Tunisia — $95,000,000
- West Bank and Gaza — $75,000,000
- Yemen — $23,000,000
- Middle East Partnership Initiative — $50,000,000
- of which, scholarships — $20,000,000
- Middle East Regional Cooperation — $5,000,000
- Near East Regional Democracy — $40,000,000
- Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership — $3,000,000
- USAID Middle East Regional — $12,000,000
- Reconciliation Programs — $10,000,000
With respect to Near East Regional Democracy programs, the Explanatory Statement states that the recommended $40 million under this heading is in addition to $15 million under the DF heading for DRL, and notes that “The Secretary of State shall consult with the Committee on the uses of funds prior to obligation.”
With respect to Reconciliation Programs, the Explanatory Statement states that recommended $10,000,000 under this heading is in addition to $20 million under the DA heading “for reconciliation programs and activities that bring together and facilitate direct communication between individuals of different ethnic, racial, religious, and political backgrounds from areas affected by civil strife and war. Of such funds, not less than $5,000,000 shall be made available for reconciliation activities between Israelis and Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Funds should be leveraged, to the maximum extent practicable, to obtain contributions from other donors and governments.”
With respect to U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative Scholarships, the Explanatory Statement states that the Committee the recommended $20 million is “for scholarships for students in countries with significant Muslim populations at not-for-profit institutions of higher education in a manner consistent with prior fiscal years, and funds shall be awarded on an open and competitive basis.”
DEMOCRACY FUND – A table in the Explanatory Statement lays out Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) funding for the Near East as follows:
- Iraq — $25,000,000
- Libya — $3,000,000
- Syria — $11,000,000
- Yemen — $3,000,000
- Near East Regional Democracy — $15,000,000
- Middle East and North Africa closed space — $2,000,000
In addition, a table in the Explanatory Statement laying out Middle East-related funding via the USAID “Center of Excellent on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance” includes $15 million for “Countering Iranian Influence.”
- With respect to Discrimination Against LGBTI Persons, the Explanatory Statement states: “The Committee encourages the Secretary of State to raise cases of arbitrary arrest and mistreatment of LGBTI people in Egypt, Chechnya, countries of the Northern Triangle, and Tanzania with the respective governments to hold the perpetrators accountable.
- With respect to the Human Rights Defenders Fund, the Explanatory Statement states: “The Committee recommends $11,500,000 for DRL’s Human Rights Defenders Fund, of which not less than $1,000,000 shall support implementation of the IPS.”
- With respect to the Lifeline Embattled Civil Society Organizations Assistance Fund, the Explanatory Statement states: “The Committee recommends $3,500,000 for the Lifeline Embattled Civil Society Organizations Assistance Fund from funds appropriated under this heading for DRL to counter threats and challenges to civil society organizations, and $500,000 for such purposes from funds appropriated for the DRG Center.”
MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE (MRA) – The bill earmarks $3,432,000,000 for this category, of which “$5,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.”
TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT (INCLE) – The bill earmarks a total of $1,378,925,000 for INCLE. A table in the Explanatory Statement lays out funding for INCLE in the Near East (totaling $121,000,000) as follows:
- Egypt — $2,000,000
- Iraq — $5,600,000
- Lebanon — $10,000,000
- Libya — $2,000,000
- Morocco — $5,000,000
- [blank in the report] — $8,000,000
- Tunisia — $13,000,000
- West Bank and Gaza — $75,000,000
- Yemen — $500,000
NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS (NADR) – The bill earmarks $883,200,000 for NADR. The Explanatory Statement doesn’t indicated any of this is recommended specifically for any Middle East country.
PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (PKO) – The bill earmarks $406,508,000 for PKO, of which not less than $25 million is earmarked for the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai. The Explanatory Statement notes: “The Committee strongly supports U.S. leadership and participation in the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai, which is vital to the national security interests of the United States, Israel, Egypt, and other regional allies, and to counter the influence of the PRC, Russian Federation, and other adversaries in the Middle East and North Africa.”
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING (IMET) – The bill earmarks $112,905,000 for IMET. A table in the Explanatory Statement lays out funding for IMET in the Near East (totaling $18,000,000) as follows:
- Algeria — $1,300,000
- Bahrain — $600,000
- Egypt — $1,800,000
- Iraq — $1,000,000
- Jordan — $4,000,000
- Lebanon — $3,000,000
- Morocco — $2,000,000
- Oman — $2,000,000
- Tunisia — $2,300,000
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING PROGRAM (FMF) – The bill earmarks $6,156,463,000 for FMF, of which “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: Provided further, 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.”
A table in the Explanatory Statement lays out funding for FMF in the Near East (totaling $5,475,000,000) as follows:
- Egypt — $1,300,000,000
- Iraq — $250,000,000
- Israel — $3,300,000,000
- Jordan — $425,000,000
- Lebanon — $105,000,000
- Morocco — $10,000,000
- Tunisia — $85,000,000
TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 7004 – DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES. The Explanatory Statement notes that required reporting under the “Updated Reports for New Embassy and Consulate Compound Construction” requirement “shall include in such reports the NEC in Jerusalem Israel.”
Sec. 7007 – PROHIBITION AGAINST DIRECT FUNDING FOR CERTAIN COUNTRIES. Perennial bill text barring funds from Titles III-VI of the bill (defined to include support from the Export-Import Bank) to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, or Syria.
Sec. 7008 – COUPS D’ETAT. Perennial bill text barring funds from Titles III-VI of the bill “to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” The provision permits funding to be re-started if a democratically elected government has taken office. The ban also does not apply “to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.”
Sec. 7013 – PROHIBITION ON TAXATION OF UNITED STATES ASSISTANCE. 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.
Sec. 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, Yemen.
Sec. 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.
Sec. 7031 – FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET TRANSPARENCY. Perennial bill text barring entry to the U.S. of foreign officials and their immediate family members “about whom the Secretary of State has credible information have been involved, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, including corruption related to the extraction of natural resources, or a gross violation of human rights shall be ineligible for entry into the United States.” It also includes a waiver. The explanatory language accompanying the bill notes: “to apply the prohibition on entry into the United States to officials of foreign governments about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful detention of locally employed staff of a U.S. diplomatic mission or a U.S. citizen or national, including officials from the Governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.”
Sec. 7032 – DEMOCRACY PROGRAMS (DF). Part (h) of this provision earmarks not less than $25,000,000 “to support and protect civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists who have been threatened, harassed, or attacked…” The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that, with respect to Independent Media and Internet Freedom Programs, the Committee recommends not less than the fiscal year 2020 levels “for programs to support independent media and Internet freedom, which are necessary for the protection and promotion of democracy and to counter efforts by governments to intimidate journalists and limit freedom of expression. The Committee encourages USAID and the Department of State to strengthen independent media programs in Afghanistan, Burma, the Philippines, Egypt, Ukraine, and countries in Central America and Africa.” The explanatory language also notes that, with respect to Protection of Civil Society Activists, Human Rights Defenders, and Journalists, the Committee requires the Department of state to “identify the specific funding and programs by which the Department of State can support the work of civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists, including specific processes by which such individuals can request assistance from U.S. embassies…”
Sec. 7033 – INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Part (c) states that ESF funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts for SFOPS “may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law for assistance for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.” The explanatory language accompanying the bill notes that, with respect to Anti-Semitism Programs, “the Committee recommends not less than $1,000,000 for programs to combat anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia abroad.”
Sec. 7034 – SPECIAL PROVISIONS.
- Part (o)(1) of this section states ESF and Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia “may 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.”
- Part (o)(2) states that “During fiscal year 2021, direct loans under 25 section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act may be made available for Jordan and Tunisia, notwithstanding section 23(c)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, gross obligations for the principal amounts of which shall not exceed $4,000,000,000.”
- Part (o)(3) states that FMF funding “may be made available, notwithstanding the third proviso under such heading, for the costs of loan guarantees under section 24 of the Arms Export Control Act for Jordan and Tunisia, which are authorized to be provided: Provided, That such funds are available to subsidize gross obligations for the principal amount of commercial loans, and total loan principal, any part of which is to be guaranteed, not to exceed $4,000,000,000.”
- *******Part (q) of this act is entitled the “NITA M. LOWEY MIDDLE EAST PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE FUND.” It reads: “Funds appropriated by this Act shall be made available to implement the purposes of the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, as contained in title IX of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 7608, as passed in the House of Representatives on July 24, 2020), if such Act is enacted by Congress: Provided, That such funds shall be referred to as the ‘Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Fund’.”*******
Sec. 7035 – LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY.
- Part (a)(2) provides NADR funding “for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund for programs in areas liberated from, under the influence of, or adversely affected by, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or other terrorist organizations: Provided, That such areas shall include 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)(3) 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 forces 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.”
Sec. 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.
Sec. 7037 – PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD. Perennial bill provision barring (with extensive language) assistance to a Palestinian state [if one were ever to come into being] that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial Presidential waiver authority).
Sec. 7038 – PROHIBITION ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION. Perennial language (dating back years) barring any U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Sec. 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. This includes barring funds for the purpose of recognizing or honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism. It also includes required reporting with respect to security assistance.
Sec. 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 US-designated FTO with the recognized representative of the Palestinian people that is NOT and has never been a US-designated FTO). 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.” [Note: This formulation 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 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].
It also 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.” It also stipulates that: “None of the funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act may be obligated for assistance for the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
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.
Sec. 7041. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
BAHRAIN: The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee “appreciates Bahrain’s commitment to regional peace and stability, as evidenced by the signing of the September 15, 2020, Abraham Accords: Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations. The Committee commends the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Bahrain and Israel…The Committee remains concerned with reports of the widespread use of arbitrary detention, torture, violations of due process, and unfair trials in Bahrain, and notes that the suppression of peaceful dissent and free expression may negatively impact stability in that country.”
(a) EGYPT. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $1,432,300,000 for assistance for Egypt, broken down as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $125,000,000
- of which, democracy programs — $35,000,000
- of which, development programs in the Sinai — $5,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $2,000,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $3,500,000
- International Military Education and Training — $1,800,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $1,300,000,000
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.”
ESF: The bill earmarks for Egypt not less than to $125 million in ESF, of which $40 million “should be made available for higher education programs,” including not less than $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 $1.3 billion in FMF for Egypt (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 $300 million 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 sustained and effective steps” to achieve progress on a laundry list of issues (rule of law, democracy, human rights, reforms, freedoms, release of political prisoners, holding security forces accountable, investigate extrajudicial killings/disappearances, provide US access to monitor assistance). The text stipulates that the certification “shall not apply to funds appropriated by this Act under such heading for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt.” This section also includes authority for the Secretary of State to waive the certification upon certifying “to do so is important to the national security interest of the United States” and reporting why this is the case to Congress.
- Certification: The Committee “condemns the wrongful detention of American citizens and nationals in Egypt and calls for their immediate release.” It states that in making above certification “the Secretary of State shall consider the cases of Ola Al-Qaradawi and Hosam Khalaf, about whom the Department of State previously expressed concern.” The Committee also “urges that humane treatment and fair trials be afforded these and other prisoners” and requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress within 30 days of the enactment of this Act, and every 60 days thereafter, on the number of Americans wrongfully detained in Egypt and the status of their cases, including the above-mentioned cases.
- Counterterrorism Campaign in the Sinai: “Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall update the report required under this heading in Senate Report 116–126 on Egypt’s compliance with end-user monitoring agreements for the use of U.S. military equipment in the Sinai.”
- Energy Infrastructure in the Sinai: “The Committee encourages the Department of State to prioritize the security of energy infrastructure in the Sinai, including the Egypt Gas Pipeline. The Committee includes additional funds under the ESF heading to expand economic development programs in the Sinai, particularly for Bedouin communities.”
- Higher Education and Scholarships: “The Committee recommends not less than $15,000,000 for Egyptian students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit institutions of higher education that meet certain standards comparable to those required for U.S. institutional accreditation. Students should be eligible for scholarships based on need, outstanding academic record, and leadership potential to contribute to the long-term political, economic, and social development of Egypt. The curriculum of such institutions should encourage critical thinking and be taught in the English language. Not later than 45 days after enactment of the act, the USAID Administrator shall consult with the Committee on the uses of such funds.“
- Report: “Consistent with section 7041(a)(4) of division G of Public Law 116–94, not later than 30 days after enactment of the act and every 60 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees describing actions taken by the Government of Egypt to compensate April Corley for injuries and losses sustained in September 2015.”
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.” Per the Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill, these funds shall be made available to support: “(1) the United States policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise obtain a nuclear weapon; (2) an expeditious response to any violation of UN Security Council Resolutions or to efforts that advance Iran’s nuclear program; (3) the implementation and enforcement of sanctions against Iran for its support of nuclear weapons development, terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation; and (4) democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.”
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 Explanatory Statement also notes: “Not later than 180 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall update the report required under this heading in Senate Report 116–126 in the manner described.”
Counterinfluence Programs. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes: “The Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall coordinate Iran counterinfluence programs funded by the act. Such programs should: (1) counter the false assertions made by the Government of Iran against the United States and other democratic countries; (2) describe the support Iran provides to terrorist proxies; and (3) assess and describe the adverse impacts such support causes to the people of Yemen, and other areas where they operate.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $454,110,000 for assistance for Iraq, broken down as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $125,000,000
- of which, justice sector assistance — $2,500,000
- of which, Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund — $7,500,000
- of which, scholarships — $10,000,000
- Democracy Fund, DRL — $25,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $5,600,000
- of which, justice sector assistance — $2,500,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $47,510,000
- International Military Education and Training — $1,000,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $250,000,000
This bill text earmarks “not less than” $454,110,000 for Iraq, of which $25 million, out of the “Democracy Fund,” is sub-earmarks for: “(A) bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund; (B) stabilization assistance, including in Anbar Province; (C) justice sector strengthening; (D) humanitarian assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; and (E) programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq.” The bill also requires the State Department to consult with Congress regarding any change in the status of operations at the United States Consulate General in Basrah.
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill stipulates that funding for Iraq includes the Kurdistan Region of Iraq [KRI]. The Committee also requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress with “a comprehensive strategy, developed in coordination with the Government of Iraq (including the KRI) and Iraqi civil society, to stabilize and rebuild critical institutions and infrastructure and respond to the heightening tensions with Iran.” The Committee also “recommends $2,500,000 under the INCLE heading and $2,500,000 under the ESF heading for assistance for Iraq to support the Iraqi justice sector, including to combat corruption, strengthen adherence to international standards of due process, improve juvenile justice, protect the rights of prisoners, and support civil society engagement with the judiciary.” It also notes that $7.5 million in ESF for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund “shall be used to assist Iraqis who have suffered losses as a result of U.S. and coalition military operations, operations of Iraqi security forces, and terrorist attacks in Iraq.” Finally, the Committee “recommends $10,000,000 for scholarships for students in Iraq, including in the KRI, at not-for-profit, American-style educational institutions that meet standards comparable to those required for U.S. accreditation.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill stipulates that the Committee recommends “not less than $3,300,000,000 for assistance for Israel under the FMF heading, and an additional $5,000,000 for refugee resettlement in Israel under the MRA heading, which shall be awarded on an open and competitive basis.” The statement also notes that the Committee “supports cooperation between the Department of State and USAID and Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation to advance shared development goals in third countries across a variety of sectors, including energy, agriculture, food security, democracy, human rights, governance, economic growth, trade, education, environment, global health, water, and sanitation.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $1,650,000,000 for assistance for Jordan, broken down as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $1,207,400,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $13,600,000
- International Military Education and Training — $4,000,000
- Foreign Military Financing — $425,000,000
The bill text earmarks “not less than $1,650,000,000” for assistance for Jordan. Of this total, not less than $1,207,400,000 is ESF, and of which not less than $845,100,000 is “for budget support for the Government of Jordan,” and not less than $25 million “for programs and activities for which policy justifications and decisions shall be the responsibility of the United States Chief of Mission in Jordan.” The bill also earmarks not less than $425 million as FMF, “including for the purchase of F–16 fighter aircraft.” This text notes that up to $50 million in ESF and FMF for Jordan “may be transferred to, and merged with, funds appropriated under such headings for purposes of this subsection.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee encourages the Department of State and USAID to prioritize funding made available under this subsection to improve Jordan’s ability to deliver essential services in the education, energy, health, and water sectors.” It also states that this Act “includes authority for loan guarantees for Jordan.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $237,370,000 for assistance for Lebanon, broken down as follows:
- Development Assistance — $7,550,000
- Economic Support Fund — $100,000,000
- of which, scholarships — $12,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $10,000,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $11,820,000
- International Military Education and Training — $3,000,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $105,000,000
The bill text earmarks not less than $237,370,000 for assistance for Lebanon, of which not less than $105 million is FMF. It states that INCLE and FMF for Lebanon “may be made available for programs and equipment for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees,” and adds that FMF for Lebanon may only be made available for programs 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.” With respect to funding for the LAF, the Secretary of State must submit a detailed spend plan to Congress prior to obligating funds. Finally, the section states: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for the ISF or the LAF if the ISF or the LAF 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 Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes:
- the Committee supports for an increase in humanitarian assistance “primarily through local NGOs, to help communities impacted by the port explosion on August 4, 2020.” The text goes on to state: “Affected communities are predominately Christian, and failure to adequately address immediate needs, including repair of homes and businesses prior to onset of winter, provides Hizballah an opportunity to expand its influence and presence in these communities. Assistance should also be considered for the American University of Beirut, which was affected by the blast.” [NOTE: From the time of the explosion to the present, the Lebanese people have not framed the tragedy in sectarian terms. That the Senate Appropriations Committee did so is, to put it mildy, disgusting.]
- “Funds appropriated by the act shall support programs to facilitate the resolution of border disputes between Lebanon and Israel. Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committee on steps taken during the prior year to resolve such border disputes.”
- “The Committee recommends $5,000,000 for not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for U.S. accreditation to continue degree and/or certificate programs for refugees in Lebanon. Such programs shall be designed to enable refugees in Lebanon to acquire the skills necessary to obtain employment.”
- “As in the past, the Committee expects that no funds made available by the act will benefit or legitimize Hizballah or any other FTOs operating in Lebanon. The Committee notes that as a current recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, the Lebanese Armed Forces are not controlled by a FTO.”
- “The Committee recommends $12,000,000 for scholarships for students in Lebanon with high financial need at not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for U.S. accreditation, to be awarded on a competitive basis. Students graduating from public and private high schools in Lebanon should be eligible for such scholarships if they demonstrate financial need and meet the academic requirements.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $29,600,000 for assistance for Libya, broken down as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $23,100,000
- Democracy Fund, DRL — $3,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $2,000,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $1,500,000
The bill text does not earmark any funds for Libya, stating merely that funds “shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Libya, including support for a United Nations-facilitated political process and border security.” It adds that “the limitation on the uses of funds for certain infrastructure projects in section 7041(f)(2) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113–76) shall apply to such funds.” It also requires that prior to the initial obligation of funds 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.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee supports UN efforts to secure a political agreement in Libya.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $41,000,000 for assistance for Morocco, broken down as follows:
- Development Assistance — $10,000,000
- Economic Support Fund — $10,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $5,000,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $4,000,000
- International Military Education and Training — $2,000,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $10,000,000
The bill text does not earmark any specific funding for Morocco, but notes that “Funds appropriated under title III of this Act shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara.” With respect to FMF, the bill stipulates that funds from this Act “are available for assistance for Morocco may only be used for the purposes requested in the Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Fiscal 20 Year 2017.”
(h) SAUDI ARABIA.
The bill states that: no IMET funding may be made available for Saudi Arabia; no US funding “should” (note the verb) “be obligated or expended by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to guarantee, insure, or extend (or participate in the extension of) credit in connection with the export of nuclear technology, equipment, fuel, materials, or other nuclear technology-related goods or services to Saudi Arabia unless the Government of Saudi Arabia— (A) has in effect a nuclear cooperation agreement pursuant to section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2153); (B) has committed to renounce uranium enrichment and reprocessing on its territory under that agreement; and (C) has signed and implemented an Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes the restriction on IMET and EXIM assistance are the same as the prior year.
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $40,000,000 for assistance for Syria, broken down as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $21,000,000
- Democracy Fund, DRL — $11,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $8,000,000
The bill text earmarks not less that $40 million from ESF, DF, and INCLE, “notwithstanding any other provision of law, for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, including in Deir ez-Zor, of which not less than $7,000,000 shall be made available for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations.” Such funds may not be used for any project or activity that supports or legitimizes Iran or an Iranian proxy, that furthers the strategic objectives of Russia or undermine US national security interests, or that are in areas controlled by the al-Assad government or associated forces. The bill also lays out requirements for monitoring, oversight, consultation, and notification with respect to funding for Syria.
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes:
The Committee’s concerns with forced returns of refugees in neighboring countries back to where conditions are still life-threatening, and directs the Secretary of State to “prioritize efforts to ensure that any returns are voluntary and those fleeing violence have access to safety in neighboring countries.” The Committee also urges SecState to use all diplomatic means to ensure implementation with UNSC resolutions and to “enable the delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria.” The Committee also requires a spend plan for assistance for Syria, and stipulates “Among other activities, stabilization assistance for Syria should continue to be used for programs to: (1) support targeted early recovery activities, including rehabilitation of essential services; (2) strengthen local administration through training and other capacity building efforts; (3) improve service delivery through technical and material assistance to meet community needs; and (4) support civilian community security providers with training, operational support, and non-lethal assistance.”
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $241,400,000 for assistance for Tunisia, broken down as follows:
- Development Assistance — $40,000,000
- Economic Support Fund — $95,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $13,000,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $6,100,000
- International Military Education and Training — $2,300,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $85,000,000
The bill text earmarks “not less than $241,400,000 shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia.” The Explanatory Statement notes that the Act “includes authority for loan guarantees for Tunisia.”
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.
The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee “recognizes the importance of the September 15, 2020 Abraham Accords Peace Agreement: Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel, which strengthens prospects for peace, stability, and mutual prosperity in the region…” At the same time, the Committee stipulates that:
- “Prior to the sale of the F–35 joint strike fighter to the UAE, the Secretary of State, in consultation with heads of relevant Federal agencies, shall certify and report to the Committee that such sale: (1) does not diminish Israel’s qualitative military edge; and (2) poses no vulnerabilities to U.S. military systems and technology vis-a`-vis the Russian Federation and PRC.”
- “The Committee notes the prolonged imprisonment of peaceful activists and human rights defenders in the UAE, including Ahmed Mansoor who has been detained under poor conditions since 2017. The Committee calls on the Secretary of State to intensify efforts to obtain his release.”
(k) WEST BANK AND GAZA.
[This section in the bill puts the funding last, and the conditions etc first – I have reversed the order here to make it easier to understand]
Subsection 7 of this section earmarks not less than $75 million in ESF for the West Bank and Gaza; and not less than $75 million in INCLE for the security assistance program for the West Bank. The Explanatory Statement notes: “Not later than 30 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall inform the appropriate congressional committees of the status of assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, including a description of communications between the U.S. Government and the Palestinian Authority regarding the resumption of assistance during fiscal year 2020, if any.”
Subsection 1 of this section requires that, before obligating any of these funds, the Secretary of State must to 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.”
Subsection 2 of this section bars any ESF from being used for assistance to the PA if, after the enactment of the Act, the Palestinians have joined any new UN agencies or are have initiated or are supporting action against Israel at the ICC. There is a waiver for the UN agencies-related condition (for reasons of US interests), but no waiver for the ICC condition [given that there is ongoing action, backed by the Palestinians, at the ICC dealing with alleged Israeli crimes against Palestinians, this provision in effect bars aid to the PA, period]. Part 2 also includes authority for the President to waive the ban on the PLO mission operating in the US (which is found in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987), but that authority is also conditioned on the Palestinians not joining any new UN agencies and not initiating or supporting action against Israel at the ICC; if this cannot be certified, the President can waive the restriction, but only if he certifies, instead, that “the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel” [something over which the Palestinians have only very partial, limited control].
Subsection 3 of this section stipulates that ESF available for the West Bank and Gaza is subject to the Taylor Force Act.
Subsection 4 states that funding “may be made available for private sector partnership programs for the West Bank and Gaza if such funds are authorized.” The Explanatory Statement notes that “Funds made available by the act for private sector partnership programs in the West Bank pursuant to subsection (k)(4), if authorized, should be used, in addition to other purposes, to support joint Palestinian and Israeli businesses and to encourage commerce between Israeli and Palestinian businesses in the West Bank.” [NOTE: This appears to be opening the door for U.S. aid for the Palestinians to be used to normalize settlements].
Subsection 5 states: “The reporting requirements 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.”]
Subsection 6 states: “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 Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of $37,000,000 for assistance for Yemen, broken down as follows:
- Global Health Programs, USAID — $5,500,000
- Economic Support Fund — $23,000,000
- Democracy Fund, DRL — $3,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $500,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $5,000,000
The bill text does not earmark any specific funds for Yemen, noting merely that “Funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs shall be made available for public health, humanitarian, and stabilization assistance for Yemen.” The Explanatory statement clarifies that the Committee “recommends $37,000,000 for public health and stabilization assistance for Yemen.”
Section 7046: EUROPE & EURASIA. Part (e) of this section 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).
Sec. 7048 – UNITED NATIONS. This section of the bill 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 bars funding for the UNHRC “unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that participation in the Council is important to the national interest of the United States and that such Council is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.” [Note: This language conflicts with the House version, which gives approval for the funding unless the Secretary of State reports to Congress “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.”] In making the certification, the Secretary of State “shall include a description of the national interest served and the steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.” In addition, this paragraph requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress “on 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.” The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill also requires that “Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations shall submit a report to the Committee describing instances of anti-Israel bias at the UN during the prior calendar year, including an identification of any agencies and entities where such bias has been demonstrated during the prior calendar year.”
UNRWA: Part (d) of this section of the bill stipulates that prior to the initial obligation of funds for UNRWA, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress, in writing, on whether UNRWA is meeting a long list of benchmarks (benchmarks that have been basically consistent for a number of years and that UNRWA has satisfied). The Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall brief the Committee on the UN Relief and Works Agency’s adherence to the UN principles of neutrality, human rights, tolerance, equality, and non-discrimination with regard to race, gender, language, and religion.”
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].
SEC. 7050 – GLOBAL INTERNET FREEDOM. This section of the bill provides not less than $70 million from various funding categories to promote Internet freedom globally, including for programs to implement “the comprehensive strategy to promote Internet freedom and access to information in Iran, as required by section 414 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (22 U.S.C. 24 8754).”
Sec. 7060 – SECTOR ALLOCATIONS. Part (g) of this section earmarks not less than $30 million in DA “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 not less than $5,000,000 for programs between Israelis and Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.”
Members on the Record
Inhofe (R-OK) 11/12: Tweet – “It is with great sorrow that I learned of this morning’s @MFOsinai accident, in which six Americans were killed while performing the important mission of observing the implementation of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. My sincere condolences to their families and loved ones.”
Risch (R-ID) 11/12: Tweet – “My thoughts & prayers are with the families & loved ones of the 7 members of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), including 5 Americans, who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Egypt. I also appreciate Israel’s assistance in medically evacuating a U.S. MFO member.”
Engel (D-NY) 11/12: Tweet – “Chairman@RepEliotEngel: My deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones in the MFO helicopter crash during a routine mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a sad loss for America, France and the Czech republic.”
Deutch (D-FL) 11/10: Inter-Parliamentary Task Force on Online Antisemitism Holds First Briefing with US, Canadian, and Australian Community Groups [“…The organizations encouraged social media platforms to adopt a standard of what antisemitism is…”]
Levin (D-MI) 11/10: Twitter thread (consolidated): “My heart is heavy over news of the passing of Saeb Erakat, Palestine’s lead negotiator to explore an enduring peace settlement with Israel. One of his Israeli counterparts from the Oslo days, Daniel Singer, said Saeb “genuinely wanted to reach peace and never gave up,” and I saw that myself in our last in-person meeting earlier this year and our ongoing communications since. He took flak from all sides but never wavered in his belief that a two-state solution was achievable, and he never stopped trying to get there.Rest in peace, Saeb. Those of us on all sides who share your belief that Israel and Palestine can live side by side as two states at true peace with each other will carry on.”
McCollum (D-MN) 11/9: Tweet – “I received this lovely letter from @AidaTuma, a member of Israel’s Knesset whom I admire greatly. Her support for my work promoting human rights and Middle East peace is very special & gratifying.” [letter]
Lamborn (R-CO) 11/6: Rep. Lamborn responds to Department of Education investigation into SFSU [“In response to calls from Rep. Doug Lamborn, the Department of Education is looking into potential violations of anti-terrorism laws by San Francisco State University (SFSU).”]
Israel in the Spotlight in GA Run-Off
Note: Going into a double run-off in George, with control of the Senate in the balance, the issue of Israel has become the weapon of choice for targeting one of the Democratic candidates, as documented in the many articles below. As context, it should be recalled that in 2018, a similar thing happened in this same state, when opponents of Stacey Abrams – in her primary race against a fellow House Democrat – sought to paint her as anti-Israel (by mis-representing her views and attacking her for a vote upholding the 1st Amendment). This was part of a series of attacks in midterm elections seeking to weaponize criticism of Israel to undermine Democrats, and particularly Democratic candidates of color. See here to review that sordid political episode, which offered a preview of how the issue is be used in Georgia again today,
Loeffler (R-GA) 11/9: Tweet – “.@ReverendWarnock has a long history of anti-Israel extremism. He defended Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitic comments. He embraced the anti-Zionist BLM organization. And he thinks Israel is an ‘oppressive regime’ for fighting back against terrorism.”
Breitbart 11/12: Raphael Warnock Struggles to Defend Anti-Israel Record
Responsible Statecraft/Mitchell Plitnick 11/11: The cynical use of Israel creeps into the Georgia Senate race
Middle East Eye 11/11: In all-important US Senate run-off, Israel-Palestine issue enters race
Jewish News Syndicate 11/10: Warnock clarifies stances on Israel, Palestinians after 2018 speech surfaces
Jewish news Syndicate 11/10: Text of Warnock’s “I Stand With Israel” statement
Times of Israel 11/10: Georgia Senate candidate rejects anti-Israel allegations as 2018 sermon surfaces
Twitter thread from former AIPAC official 11/10: “I was the Midwest Political Director @AIPAC when Andre Carson was elected. When Keith Ellison was elected. When Justin Amash was elected. I’ve seen the way this works. Georgia…don’t believe anything @ReverendWarnock tells you about his views on Israel. Just watch the video…”
Jewish Insider 11/9: In 2018 sermon, Warnock blasted Israel. He now says, ‘I Stand with Israel’
Jewish News Syndicate 11/6: GA’s Warnock signed letter likening Israel’s policies on Palestinians to apartheid
Washington Free Beacon 11/6: Georgia Dem Senate Candidate Tied to Anti-Israel Letter Comparing West Bank to Apartheid
Jewish Insider 11/6: Raphael Warnock signed letter likening West Bank to apartheid South Africa [Background from last week re: JI’s 11/6 report, relevant to reporting since then: (1) This JI headline is misleading in its description of the extremely thoughtful, nuanced statement Warnock and other faith leaders signed (take the time to read the whole thing); (2) the headline is also misleading in suggesting that using analogies to Apartheid to describe the situation of Palestinians living under occupation for more than 50 years – with Israel in recent years ceasing even the pretense of interest in anything resembling a solution that would give the Palestinians more than isolated islands of semi-autonmous territory surrounded by and under the overarching control of Israel — is any longer controversial (see:‘An illegitimate regime’: How a top rights group shed Israeli myths to recognize apartheid); and (3) JI tweeted the story around 8:30pm EST on 11/5, framing it as “#Breaking” — notwithstanding the fact that the statement in question dates back to March 2019, and has been online for the world to see the whole time (it wasn’t a secret; all of us who pay attention to faith leaders engagement with Palestinians certainly knew about it, and anyone using Google to research Warnock’s history vis-a-vis Israel would easily find it). The timing of JI’s “breaking” a more than year-old story now, as Warnock heads to a run-off for the Senate seat in Georgia, is interesting, to say the least.
Articles and Reports Related to the Hill
Jerusalem Post 11/11: Ilhan Omar: Defund Israel over illegal Bedouin homes that were demolished
ForeignLobby.com 11/11: Egypt assembles bipartisan powerhouse lobbying team for post-Trump era
WinWithoutWar 11/10: Statement: Congress Must Reject Trump’s Reprehensible Lame Duck Arms Sale
Breitbart 11/9: Ilhan Omar Falsely Accuses Israel of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’
The Algemeiner 11/7: Trump Administration Advances $10 Billion Defense Sale to UAE, Source Says
The Algemeiner 11/6: Newly-Reelected Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Accuses Israel of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’