Featuring Seth Binder (Project on Middle East Democracy), Joel Braunold (S Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace), Dr. Carol Daniel Kasbari (Middle East Institute)
In this session we dig into the role that U.S. foreign assistance plays in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including condition-free assistance to Israel and the far-reaching conditions, restrictions, vetting, and oversight imposed on aid to the Palestinians.
This webinar is Part 7 of an 8-part series of webinars. For recordings of the other sessions in this series, please click here.
For resources shared in this webinar, scroll down.
Seth Binder is the Advocacy Officer at POMED. Previously, he served as the program manager and research associate at the Center for International Policy’s (CIP) Security Assistance Monitor program, where he focused on U.S. security assistance and arms sales policy. Among others, he has authored articles and publications on U.S. security assistance to Palestine, Yemen, and Tunisia and has been quoted in numerous outlets including TIME, Al-Jazeera, and Foreign Policy. He is the co-author of Mohammed VI’s Strategies for Moroccan Economic Development (Routledge Press, 2020) and “The Moroccan Spring and King Mohammed VI’s Economic Policy Agenda: Evaluating the First Dozen Years,” a chapter in The Birth of the Arab Citizen and the Changing of the Middle East. Seth received his B.A. in History from Oberlin College and M.A. in International Relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where he received certificates in Advanced Study in Middle Eastern Affairs and International Counterterrorism.
Joel Braunold is the managing director of the S Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace having consulted leading organizations, funds and foundations on public policy and issues surrounding financing of violence prevention and peacebuilding in the domestic and international contexts. He served as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, during which he built its global footprint, impact and brand leveraging over $50 million into the field of peacebuilding. He has worked regularly with the US State Department, USAID, the National Security Council and Congress on the needs of the peace building community. Outside the US, Joel works with national governments and multilateral institutions. Joel is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and holds a BA(Hons) in philosophy from Bristol University. He is a board member of the Alliance for Peacebuildng, is the recipient of the Avi Schaefer Peace Innovation Prize, is a senior fellow for the Alliance for Youth Movements and holds Honorary Life Membership to the National Union of Students (UK). He was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for their class of 2018.
Carol Daniel Kasbari, Ph.D, is a social scientist with an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in conflict analysis and resolution with 20+ years of experience designing and leading programs in the field of conflict mitigation, peacebuilding, advocacy, and nonviolent resistance in very complex international environments focusing on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Europe. She is a Non-resident Scholar with MEI’s Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs, has participated in several second track negotiations of Palestinians and Israelis, and led hundreds of dialogue sessions among adversaries in different political contexts, including Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, and Bosnia. She was a consultant for UNESCO’s division of Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace for eight years, where she led media and education programs in the Middle East. And later on, she worked with the EU program for peace to lead and design educational programs and workshops for critical media consumption at several academic institutions in Arabic and English. In 2009, she led CMM programs funded by USAID and international NGO’s such as Search for Common Ground and Catholic Relief Services, where she ran multimillion-dollar programs on conflict sensitive reporting and peace journalism and trained hundreds of media professionals, facilitators and advocates from the region. She acquired her Ph.D. from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (Carter School), at George Mason University in Virginia, where she currently teaches as an adjunct professor. Her research captures the effects of “everyday resistance on relations of power in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” and she currently writes for peer reviewed academic articles on decolonizing resistance, the immediate outcomes of everyday resistance, and peacebuilding through the lenses of local ordinary citizens. She received numerous awards such as the John Burton award for her academic excellence twice, and James H. Laue Scholarship for her service to the field of conflict resolution. She also received the George Mason Provost fellowship for conducting her field research and in 2019 and the prestigious dissertation Award of the AAUW (American Association of University Women) in addition to the George Mason’s advisory board scholarship. She has written several papers and presentations, as well as a number of op-eds in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and local media outlets in the Middle East.
Follow our panelists on Twitter using these links:
- Joel Braunold → @braunold / https://twitter.com/braunold
- Dr. Carol Danial Kasbari → @CarolDkas / https://twitter.com/CarolDkas
- Seth Binder → @Seth_Binder / https://twitter.com/seth_binder
Resources on US Aid:
- Here are links to two CRS reports concerning US aid to the Palestinians:
- https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RS22967.html (last updated in Nov. 2018)
- https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RS/RS22967 (from March 2020)
- And a CRS report on U.S. aid to Israel: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL33222
- A graph showing US aid to Palestinians from 2012-2019 (detailed, by type of aid): https://fmep.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2021-03-18-at-11.21.19-AM.png
- A longer look at US aid levels to the Palestinians, including notation on significant events: https://fmep.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2021-03-18-at-11.27.21-AM.png
- U.S. funding to UNRWA (1990-2018): https://fmep.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2021-03-18-at-11.21.19-AM.png
- USAID’s “Mission Order 21” https://www.usaid.gov/documents/1883/mission-order-21-attachments
- The Obama White House issued this FAQ on the MOU it signed with Israel in 2016: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/14/fact-sheet-memorandum-understanding-reached-israel
- To stay up-to-date on all legislative packages involving aid (and any/all bilateral relations) to Israel and the Palestinians, make sure you are subscribed to Lara Friedman’s legislative roundup (sent weekly when Congress is in session): https://fmep.org/subscribe/
For a long read on US bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, make sure to read Khaled’s recent book, Blindspot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump: https://www.brookings.edu/book/blind-spot/
The Trump Era:
- For analysis of President Trump’s FY21 budget for foreign assistance, see Seth Binder’s analysis for POMED: https://pomed.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/POMED_FY21BudgetReport.pdf
- For Lara Friedman’s take on how U.S. laws like the Taylor Force Act and ATCA are, in part, about erasing occupation: https://lobelog.com/erasing-occupation-the-pernicious-role-of-congress/
- For a Palestinian view on the Taylor Force Act: “US Law Cutting Aid to Palestnians Punishes any and all Resitance to Israeli Occupation” https://theintercept.com/2018/05/25/israel-palestine-aid-taylor-force-act/
- Here’s ALLMEP’s take on the Nita Lowey Fund for Middle East Peace, which it spearheaded: https://www.allmep.org/news/after-over-a-decade-of-allmep-advocacy-the-largest-ever-investment-in-israeli-palestinian-peacebuilding-is-enacted-into-law/
- Here’s Zaha Hassan’s critical/skeptical view on how the Nita Lowey fund might be implemented to benefit settlements: https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/09/02/how-proposed-new-fund-to-bolster-palestinian-economy-stands-to-benefit-israeli-settlers-pub-82640
- Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020: https://appropriations.house.gov/news/press-releases/house-democrats-file-omnibus-spending-bill
- “USAID/West Bank and Gaza Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) People-to-People (P2P) Reconciliation Fund Program”: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=72029421RFA00001
The Biden Administration:
Lara Friedman on the opportunity Biden has to reset relations with Palestinians: https://fmep.org/resource/bidens-israel-palestine-policy-a-chance-to-restore-and-reset/
- Seth Binder spoke to The Times of Israel about the U.S.-UAE arms deal that came alongside the signing of the Abrahama Accords: https://www.timesofisrael.com/uae-envoy-if-us-unwilling-to-supply-weapons-well-have-to-turn-elsewhere/
- “Time to Rethink, But Not Abandon, International Aid to Palestinians” by Nathan Brown (Carnegie Endowment, December 2018) https://carnegieendowment.org/2018/12/17/time-to-rethink-but-not-abandon-international-aid-to-palestinians-pub-77985
- Washington Post fact-checked Jared Kushner’s claim that the Palestinians have received more US aid than any group in history (spoiler, the quote was awarded three pinocchios): https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/05/08/have-palestinians-received-more-aid-than-any-group-history/
- FMEP hosted a conversation between Palestinian experts on the role international aid plays in Palestinian society, and talking about needed reforms: https://fmep.org/resource/webinaris-it-time-to-reform-international-aid-to-palestine/
- Peter Beinart wrote in May 2019 “It’s Time to End America’s Blank Check Military Aid to Israel” → https://fmep.org/resource/11095/
- Rep. McCollum’s legislation: https://mccollum.house.gov/media/press-releases/mccollum-introduces-legislation-promote-human-rights-palestinian-children
- Lara Friedman on the so-called “Pay to Slay” issue → “Cutting Off Payments to Palestinian Families Won’t Stop Terrorism” https://fmep.org/resource/cutting-off-payments-palestinian-families-wont-stop-terrorism/