US Spending Bill 2022 Grants Unconditional Aid To Israel
The US House passed the fiscal year 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill on July 28. With a 217 to 212 vote, the bill will provide $62.24 billion for the US diplomatic, development, and foreign policy agencies and programs.
The bill maintains the annual $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel as approved in the 2016 US – Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The bill which provides unconditional aid to Israel was opposed by Republicans as well as three progressive Democrats – Reps. Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib.
“Importantly, the legislation provides the full $3.3 billion in US security assistance to Israel, as agreed to in the 2016 MOU. This critical funding, with no added political conditions, reflects the strong bipartisan support for Israel’s security in Congress and the Biden administration,” wrote the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in a news release.
House Appropriation Committee also approved $50 million under the Economic Support Fund for Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act purpose of continuing the “critically needed people-to-people programming and joint economic partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians”.
The Committee also included $50 million for refugees from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and other refugees resettling in Israel.
Additionally, the bill stated that the Arab League boycott of Israel and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel is an obstacle to peace in the region and to U.S. investment and trade in the Middle East and North Africa. It directed the immediate and public termination of the Arab League boycott and the disbandment of the Central Office for the Boycott of Israel.
Fiscal 2022 bill approved funds in support of the United Nations Human Rights Council on provisions that the Council serve the interests of the United States and takes significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.
The House also authorized funds of $225 million under the Economic Support Fund for humanitarian and developmental assistance for the Palestinian people located in West Bank and Gaza. However, these funds would be made available to the Palestinian State on provisions that forbid the State from utilizing the funding to provide equipment, technical support, consulting services, or any other forms of assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Funds appropriated for West Bank and Gaza under the heading “Economic Support Fund” are approved on the prerequisites that the Palestinians do not obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and Palestinians. Additionally, the Act prohibits the Palestinians from initiating an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation and supporting an investigation that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.
“This bill makes critical investments in global health and humanitarian needs, provides strong funding to address the climate crisis, and advances gender equity,” State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Chairwoman Barbara Lee said.
“President Biden has made it clear that America is back. The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill puts those words into action. It makes America stronger at home and respected again in the world. And it addresses urgent humanitarian needs while confronting the climate crisis,” Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro said.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II.