On 6/28, the House Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee marked up and reported out (with no amendments) the Subcommittee’s draft of the FY22 SFOPS Approps bill. Details (including video) of 6/28 SFOPS Subcommittee markup are here.
On 7/1, the full Appropriations Committee released the Report accompanying the draft FY22 bill, and marked up/passed the draft SFOPS bill (with a handful of amendments, none of which had anything to do with the Middle East). Details (including video) of 7/1 full Appropriations Committee markup are here.
The Middle East provisions of the bill (which now goes to the House floor for amendments and a vote) and the accompanying Report 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 $809,147,000 “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East”. The table included in the Report earmarks $108,866,000 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, 2022, 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, 2022, to remain available until expended.”
Diplomatic Programs: The table in the Report includes under this heading $1 million for the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and $500,000 for the Special Envoy for Yemen. The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee recommendation includes not less than $1,000,000 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
Development Assistance (DA): In the Report accompanying the bill, the table laying out Development Assistance (DA) allocations includes $8 million for “Refugee Scholarships” in the Near East. The Report also notes: “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.”
Economic Support Fund (ESF): In the Report accompanying the bill, the table laying out Economic Support Fund (ESF) allocations includes for the Middle East and North Africa:
- Lebanon: $112.5 million, of which, $12 million is for scholarships
- Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) scholarship program: $20 million
- Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC): $6 million
- Near East Regional Democracy: $55 million
- Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act: $50 million
The Report further notes:
Lebanon scholarships: “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, economic, and social development of Lebanon. The Committee directs that these funds be awarded through an open and competitive process.”
Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI): “The Committee supports 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 increased 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.”
Democracy Fund: The Report accompanying the bill includes – “The Committee encourages the State Department to consult with local stakeholders such as civil society groups, youth, media, and women’s empowerment groups to explore how to mitigate the polarization and erosion of democratic values in Turkey.”
Migration & Refugee Assistance (MRA): 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 accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee recommendation includes $5,000,000 for refugees from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and other refugees resettling in Israel, which is the same as the request.”
TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE): In the Report accompanying the bill, the table laying out INCLE allocations includes $40 million for the West Bank and Gaza.
Non-proliferation, 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 $25,000,000 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 $25,000,000 for the Multinational Force and Observers mission (MFO) in the Sinai. Sufficient funds remain available from prior fiscal year balances to address force protection requirements during fiscal year 2022. 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. United States leadership and participation in the MFO is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
Foreign Military Financing (FMF): See the bill text in Section 7041, below, for details of FMF provisions for all Near East countries except Israel. With respect to Israel, this section of the bill 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 $785,300,000 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 under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) Program to Israel, which is the same as the budget request. The Committee reaffirms its support for the 2016 United States—Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which demonstrates the unshakable 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 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 strongly believes in the right and ability of Israel to defend itself against the wide range of threats it faces and believes that a close United States—Israel security partnership benefits the interests of both countries. The Committee further believes that by contributing to a safe and secure Israel, United States assistance also positively contributes to broader efforts aimed at achieving a negotiated two-state solution. Therefore, the Committee urges the Secretary of State to address in bilateral consultations with Israel the importance of ensuring that MOU-supported equipment is not used in any way that undermines the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution.”
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
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.”
Section 7009: Transfer of Funds Authority
NEW — Part (c)(2) of this section exempts ESF funding for the Lowey Fund from a limitation on the transfer of funds for the US International Development Finance Company.
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, South 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 $2,517,000,000 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.”
Part (n)(2) of this section of the bill stipulates that during FY22, direct loans under section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act “may be made available for Jordan, notwithstanding section 623(c)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, gross obli7gations for the principal amounts of which shall not exceed $4,000,000,000,” and that FMF funding may be made available for the costs of such loans.
Part (n)(3) stipulates that FMF funding “for the costs of loan guarantees under section 24 of the Arms Export Control Act for Jordan”.
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)(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 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.
Notably, the Report accompanying the bill (once again) hijacks this longstanding provision to attack boycotts of both Israel and settlements that are NOT coerced by the Arab League or any party but rather 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.”
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 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 and North Africa
Section 7041 – Bahrain
While the bill text does not in any way address Bahrain, the Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee appreciates Bahrain’s commitment to regional peace and stability, including Bahrain’s signing of the September 15, 2020, Abraham Accords. The Committee remains concerned with ongoing reports of the widespread violations of human rights, including the use of arbitrary detention, violence, violations of due process, and restrictions on freedom of expression, the press, and assembly. The Committee encourages the Department of State to prioritize working with the Government of Bahrain to make meaningful progress toward establishing democratic institutions and holding accountable those responsible, including in the armed forces and Ministry of Interior, for human rights violations.”
Section 7041(a) – Egypt
The Report accompanying the bill includes a table laying out assistance for Egypt as follows: ESF – $125 million, NADR – $3.5 million, IMET – $1.8 million, and FMF – $1.3 billion.
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 “not less than” $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, 2023 (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 $150 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: (i) strengthen the rule of law, democratic institutions, and human rights in Egypt, including to protect religious minorities and the rights of women, which are in addition to steps taken during the previous calendar year for such purposes; (ii) implement reforms that protect freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, including the ability of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and the media to function without interference; (iii) hold Egyptian security forces accountable, including officers credibly alleged to have violated human rights; (iv) investigate and prosecute cases of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances; (v) provide regular access for United States officials to monitor such assistance in areas where the assistance is used; and (vi) prevent the intimidation and harassment of American citizens”. The section stipulates that the certification does not apply to funding for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt.
WAIVER: The bill provides the Secretary of State authority to waive the abovementioned certification requirement if he determines that doing so is “important to the national security interest of the United States” – but also adds an additional two new withholding requirements: $135 million in FMF shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that “the Government of Egypt is making clear and consistent progress in releasing political prisoners and providing detainees with due process of law”; and $15 million in FMF shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that “the Government of Egypt has provided American citizens with fair and commensurate compensation for injuries suffered as a result of an attack against a tour group by the Egyptian military.” There is no waiver provided for either of these two withholdings. For more on how this went down in the SFOPS subcommittee, check out coverage/analysis from POMED’s Seth Binder, here.
The Report accompanying the bill includes extensive language regarding Egypt, most notably:
- “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. The Committee also notes Egypt’s critical mediation efforts in support of a ceasefire in Gaza in May 2021 and Egypt’s help in evacuating American citizens to safety. 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 Secretary, in making the determination with respect to whether the Government of Egypt has provided American citizens with fair and commensurate compensation for injuries suffered as a result of an attack against a tour group by the Egyptian military, shall consider the case of American citizen, April Corley, and her severe injuries and losses sustained during an attack on her tour group by Egyptian armed forces on September 13, 2015.”
In addition, the Report lays out a number of required reports on Egypt:
- Governance and human rights: “The certification and report required by section 7041(a)(3)(A) shall include whether the Government of Egypt is taking, on a sustained and effective basis, steps to: (i) strengthen the rule of law, democratic institutions, and human rights in Egypt, including to protect religious minorities and the rights of women, which are in addition to steps taken during the previous calendar year for such purposes; (ii) implement re-forms that protect freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, including the ability of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and the media to function without interference; (iii) hold Egyptian security forces accountable, including officers credibly alleged to have violated human rights; (iv) investigate and prosecute cases of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances; (v) provide regular access for United States officials to monitor such assistance in areas where the assistance is used; and (vi) prevent the intimidation or harassment of Americans citizens.”
- American Citizens: “The Committee notes with concern the treatment of human rights defenders and political prisoners held in Egypt and denounces the death of American citizen Mustafa Kassem following years of unjust imprisonment. Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the treatment and conditions of political prisoners in Egyptian custody as well as the steps taken to secure the release of wrongfully detailed [sic] American citizens from Egypt.”
- Religious Freedom: “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the steps the Egyptian Government is taking to ensure proper treatment and justice for Christian communities in Egypt. The report shall include information on Church restoration, Christian participation in government, a history of persecution against Egyptian Christians, and the status of Egyptian Christians being held in detention by the government.”
Section 7041(b) – Iran
This section of the bill includes perennial language (1) stipulating 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,” and (2) requiring 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 accompanying the bill further stipulates:
- “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 support 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.—Pursuant to subsection (b)(2), 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 “(A) bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; (B) stabilization assistance, including in Anbar Province, (C) justice sector strengthening; (D) humanitarian assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; and (D) programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq, including 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 lays out U.S. assistance to Iraq as follows: ESF – $150 million (of which $2.5 million is for justice sector initiatives, $7.5 million is for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, and $10 million is for scholarships); NADR – $47.5 million; IMET – $1 million; and FMF – $250 million. The report further stipulates that International Disaster Assistance and MRA “should be made available to support programs that address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees throughout all regions of Iraq, including in the KRI, as well as their host communities. Additionally, funds under Economic Support Fund should continue to support programs that mitigate the impact of such IDPs and refugees in such region.” [For further stipulations see page 96 of the Report; for required report to Congress see p. 101].
Section 7041 – Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (NEW)
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
“Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.—The Committee reaffirms the long-standing, bipartisan support for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, and notes that a negotiated two-state solution is essential to achieving the goal of a democratic Jewish State of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. The Committee remains concerned by the absence of direct negotiations and urges both sides to refrain from engaging in unilateral action that jeopardizes the chances for dialogue and returning to the negotiating table, or of eventual achievement of a two-state solution. This includes Palestinian incitement of violence and pursuing recognition as a state and membership in international organizations in lieu of achieving a two-state solution through negotiations. This also includes Israeli annexation or settlement expansion outside of an agreement negotiated between the two sides. The Committee fully supports efforts that foster reconciliation and engagement, and therefore recommends $50,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act for fiscal year 2022 in order to continue critically needed people-to-people programming and joint economic partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Section 7041(d) – Jordan
The bill earmarks “not less than” $1.650 billion for Jordan, of which not less than $845,100,000 “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 Report accompanying the bill notes that the Committee recommends a total of not less than $1,650 billion in assistance to Jordan, broken down as follows: ESF – not less than $1,207,400,000; FMF – $425 million.
The Report adds: “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 and USAID Administrator 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 stipulates 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 notes, with respect to Lebanon:
- Intent with respect to FMF: “The Committee recommendation includes language in section 7041(e) of this Act requiring that certain conditions be met prior to the obligation of funds under this heading for assistance for Lebanon. The Committee intends that assistance provided to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) 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 pro-vided by the United States.”
- Report required with respect to FMF: “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.”
- Further on the Report notes: “…The Committee notes the LAF has been a necessary partner in combating the influence of Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.”
- See pp 101-102 of the Report for details of other required reports on Lebanon and on UNIFIL.
Section 7041 – U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem (NEW)
The bill text doesn’t mention Jerusalem. The Report accompanying the bill, however, notes:
“The Committee recommendation includes sufficient funds under Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance to support the Administration’s plan to reopen the United States Consulate in Jerusalem. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act detailing the steps necessary to reopen the United States Consulate in Jerusalem, a timeline for restoring staffing levels within the Consulate, and the extent to which such a diplomatic mission complements the broader strategy of improving relations with the Palestinian people.”
Section 7041(f) – Libya
This section states that “Funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Libya, including support for a United Nations-facilitated political process and border security”. It adds a caveat that existing law limiting the uses of funds for certain infrastructure projects “shall apply to such funds.” The section also stipulates that “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.”
The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee directs the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to strengthen the Libyan political process to help ensure free, fair, and credible elections in December 2021 as well as ongoing efforts to remove foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.”
Section 7041(g) – Morocco
This section stipulates funds under Title III of this act “shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara,” subject to prior consultation with Congress. 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 accompanying the bill stipulates that within the amount provided for Morocco, the Committee recommends not less than $10 million in DA and $10 million in FMF.
The Report also 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. The Committee also appreciates Morocco’s commitment to resuming diplomatic ties with Israel and the signing of the December 10, 2020 Israel-Morocco normalization agreement.”
Section 7041 (h) Saudi Arabia
This section states 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.”
It also bars funding for the Export-Import Bank to “guarantee, insure, or extend (or participate in the extension of) credit in connection with the export of nuclear technology, equipment, fuel, material, or other nuclear-related goods and 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.”
Section 7041(i) – Syria
This section states that “Funds appropriated by this Act under titles III and IV 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.” The section stipulates that such funds may not be made available for 3 things: (A) “a project or activity that supports or otherwise legitimizes the Government of Iran, foreign terrorist organizations…or a proxy of Iran in Syria;” (B) “activities that further the strategic objectives of the Government of the Russian Federation that the Secretary of State determines may threaten or undermine United States national security interests” and (C) “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 accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee remains deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating food security crisis in Syria, which makes the UN cross-border assistance critical to the well-being of civilians who rely on aid to survive. The Committee continues to support United States efforts to lead the humanitarian response and urges the Administration to redouble its efforts in the UN Security Council to reauthorize existing UN cross-border access and reinstate other UN border crossings to enable the delivery of life-saving aid.”
The Report also notes: “The Committee remains concerned about the lengthy displacement of Syrians and the ongoing burden they face, as well as the continued strain Syrian refugees are placing on host communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, among other countries. The Committee urges the Department of State to continue to: (1) assist host countries to expand their national systems to accommodate refugee needs; (2) increase host country capacity to deliver basic services to their own citizens; (3) strengthen the ability of local government institutions to respond to the refugee influx; (4) employ policies and programs to close gaps in distribution of need-based aid to at-risk minority populations; (5) ensure that refugees have freedom of movement, ability to pursue legal status in host countries, meaningful access to economic opportunity and essential services, and access to asylum and resettlement; and (6) support returns only if they are safe, dignified, and voluntary, consistent with the principle of non-refoulement.”
Section 7041(j) – Tunisia
This subsection of the bill states: “Of the 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, not less than $197,100,000 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 – $40 million; INCLE – $22.8 million; NADR – $2 million; IMET – $2.3 million; FMF – $85 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
Both the bill text and the Report include extensive language related to aid for the West Bank and Gaza.
Assistance: Part 1 of this section is a hard earmark of “not less than” $225 million in ESF for “programs in the West Bank and Gaza.”
Report on Assistance: Part 2 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.”
Limitations on Assistance: Part 3 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority, linked to the UN and the ICC.
- Barring Aid to the PA: Part 3(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.” 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, meaning that under this section, the US is barred from granting any ESF for the PA, period (irrespective of whether the Palestinians adopt policy changes to address the demands of the Taylor Force Act).
- Preventing the PLO Office from Re-Opening in the U.S.: Part 3(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.” Like the ESF condition, this condition on the PLO office can be waived with respect to the UN (but only if the President can certify that the Palestinians “have taken credible steps to enter into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel and it is important to the national security interests of the United States and the conduct of diplomacy in advancing Middle East peace”). No waiver is provided if the Palestinians go to the ICC, meaning that under this section, the US is barred from allowing the PLO from re-opening its mission in the US, period.
Comment: At this time, the Biden Administration is reportedly pressing the PA to change its policies to address the demands of the Taylor Force Act (which bars aid that directly benefits the PA) and is reportedly working to re-start normal diplomatic relations with the Palestinians (which ostensibly means eventually allowing the re-opening the PLO mission in Washington). With that in mind, one might have expected the Biden Administration to have worked with Democratic leaders on the Appropriations Committee – and in particularly, SFOPS chair Lee (D-CA), who supposedly represents more progressive forces in the Democratic party – to amend ICC-related conditions in this bill, or to at least add waivers, in order to provide the Biden Administration some measure of wiggle room in its relations with the Palestinians.
Instead, the SFOPS subcommittee produced (and approved) a bill in which the ICC-related conditions on aid and on the Palestinian mission in the US – conditions for which there are no waivers and which have already been definitively violated by the pending case before the ICC – have been left intact and unchanged. In so doing, House appropriators, with bipartisan support, apparently are deliberately seeking to hold the door closed on any possibility of the Biden Administration re-starting aid to the PA or allowing the re-opening of the Palestinian mission in Washington.
How did this happen? A Biden Administration oversight/screw-up? A sign that the Biden Administration lacks the political will and political weight to convince Democrats on the Appropriations Committee to support to it policies? Or is this evidence that the political make-up of the SFOPS subcommittee – even under its new chairwoman – remains such that meaningful legislative change is still a remote hope when it comes to issues related to the Palestinians? For now, the answer is not known, but none of the possible answers make the Biden Administration or House Democrats look good.
Taylor Force Act: Part 4 of this section notes that “Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’ that are made available for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza shall be made available consistent with section 1004(a) of the Taylor Force Act (title X of division S of Public Law 115–141).”
Security report: Part 5 of this section states: “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 stipulates that, “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, with respect to aid for the West Bank and Gaza:
- Pursuant to subsection (k)(3), the Secretary of State shall certify that certain requirements on the part of the Palestinian Authority have been met before assistance under Economic Support Fund is made available, as stipulated in section 1004(a) of the Taylor Force Act (title X of division N of Public Law 115–141). Such requirements include ending acts of violence against Israeli and United States citizens and terminating payments for acts of terrorism to any individual who died committing such acts or a family member of such individuals.
- The Committee directs that assistance shall be made available for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, for wastewater projects, and for any other program, project, or activity that provides vaccination to children, as such entities are exempted from the above certification.
- Assistance to the Palestinians.—The Committee recommendation includes $225,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for humanitarian and development assistance for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza and believes such assistance is critical to promoting stability and democratic governance as well as re-engaging with Palestinian civil society. The Committee urges the Secretary of State to continue supporting—with United States assistance— Palestinian economic development, security coordination, and Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, which are the underpinnings to any sustainable two-state solution. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to promptly inform the Committees on Appropriations of any alleged incident involving any United States assistance used in such a way that adversely affects or jeopardizes these objectives.”
Section 7041(l) – Yemen
This subsection of the bill states that, “Funds appropriated under title III of this Act and under the headings ‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’ and ‘Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs’ 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:
- “Pursuant to subsection (l), assistance under title III, International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, and Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs, shall be made available for health, humanitarian, and stabilization efforts in Yemen.”
- “The Committee supports the Administration’s ongoing efforts to press for full and consistent humanitarian access in northern and southern Yemen and a comprehensive nationwide ceasefire that guarantees lasting relief to the Yemeni people. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to continue pressing government officials in Saudi Arabia to unconditionally ease all restrictions on Yemen’s ports and airports and to enable the free flow of fuel, food, and medicine into and throughout Yemen.”
Section 7046: Europe and Eurasia
Part (d) of this section deals with Turkey. It bars funds to facilitate or support the sale of defense articles or defense services to the ish 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).
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 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:
- Overarching Report: “Annual report on anti-Israel bias.—The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit an annual report to the Committees on Appropriations describing instances of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, including an identification of the agencies and entities where such bias has been demonstrated in the past, including those that appear under this heading in title I of House Report 116–444.”
- UNHRC: “The Committee notes with disappointment the ascension to UNHRC of countries with poor human rights records, and therefore urges the Secretary of State and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to exercise the renewed influence of the United States in the Council to vigorously press other countries to uphold human rights, respect the rule of law, and treat their citizens with dignity. 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.”
- UNHRC report: “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. Such report shall also include a description of the extent to which United States participation in the Council serves the national interest and the steps the Council has taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.”
- UNRWA: “…The Committee commends the Administration’s decision to resume humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, including contributions to UNRWA and notes that over 70 percent of UNRWA’s program budget is dedicated to education and healthcare. As part of the Administration’s ongoing reengagement with UNRWA, the Committee urges the Secretary of State to secure additional contributions to the Agency from countries in the region, work with the Government of Lebanon on job opportunities for refugees, and work with UNRWA on overcoming residual financial impacts to the Agency created by the 2018 suspension of U.S. contributions. “
- UNRWA report: “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall sub-mit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the degree to which UNRWA is complying with the policies and procedures described in section 7048(d) and the areas in which the Department is partnering with the Agency on new guidelines or re-form efforts. Such report shall include an updated description of the mechanisms UNRWA has in place to identify incitement and other unacceptable subject matters, including anti-Semitic content, in locally-produced textbooks and the procedures in place to substitute such material with curriculum that emphasizes the impor-tance of human rights, tolerance, and non-discrimination.”
Section 7050. Global Internet Freedom
Part (b) stipulates that funds made available pursuant to this subsection shall be “for programs to implement the May 2011, International Strategy for Cyberspace, the Department of State International Cyberspace Policy Strategy required by section 402 of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 (division N of Public Law 114–113), and 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. 8754)”
Section 7060. Sector Allocations
Part (g), entitled “Reconciliation Programs,” states that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Development Assistance’’, not less than $25,000,000 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.” NOTE: not included in this year’s text is what was previously the rest of this sentence, which read, “including cross-border programs between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Section 7065. Stabilization and Development in Regions Impacts by Extremism and Conflict
Part (a)(2) notes that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘Economic Support Fund’ and ‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’ that are made available for the Prevention and Stabilization Fund, not less than $10,000,000 shall be made available for programs to promote accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including in Iraq and Syria, which shall be in addition to any other funds made available by this Act for such purposes.”