Kay Granger 311.
(photo credit: MCT)
WASHINGTON – A US House subcommittee unveiled a foreign assistance package
Tuesday that fully funds aid to Israel but gives money to its neighbors on
conditions, including a provision that would bar the Palestinian Authority from
receiving aid if it seeks statehood at the UN or includes Hamas in a unity
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The bill, which will be reviewed by the US House
Appropriations Subcommittee for Foreign Operations on Wednesday, includes $3.075
billion for Israel as part of the 10-year memorandum of understanding between
the two countries.
It also contains $513 million for the Palestinian
Authority, though in order to receive any of the money dedicated for security
assistance, the secretary of state must certify that the PA “is not attempting
to establish or seek recognition at the United Nations of a Palestinian state
outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the
The Palestinians have announced they plan to seek
unilateral recognition at the UN for a state this September, a move opposed by
Israel as well as the US.
In addition, the Palestinians would forfeit the
American economic assistance should “any power-sharing government of which Hamas
is a member or that results from an agreement with Hamas” come to
Earlier this year, Hamas and Fatah signed such a deal, but it has
yet to be implemented.
Other limitations on the Palestinians include a
commitment working with the Israeli security authorities and stamping out
terrorism and terror financing, though the president can waive the limitations
if he determines providing the assistance is necessary for US national
The president does not have waiver authority when it comes to
Lebanon and Egypt, however, which ratchets the language of this bill higher than
that approved last week by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The latter bill
is meant to establish guidelines over foreign aid that the appropriations bill –
which actually allocates specific dollar amounts – must follow.
appropriations bill rules out military aid to Lebanon entirely if members of
Hezbollah participate in the government. While $100m. in military funding has
been given to Lebanon in years past, the current bill doesn’t designate any
money even if the secretary of state certifies Hezbollah is not in the
However, the current government in Lebanon, which just came
into office this year and is headed by a prime minister backed by Hezbollah,
would be unable to qualify for the assistance.
Egypt, for its part, is
due to receive $1.55b., roughly consistent with allocations in previous years,
but that money is conditioned on its keeping its peace treaty with Israel, among
other measures. The $250m. in economic assistance that comprises that
funding would be additionally put on condition that no foreign terrorist
organization heads the government.
Though whether the Muslim Brotherhood
qualifies as a terrorist organization is a matter of debate.
chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) told The Jerusalem Post
that language would
apply to a parliament in which the brotherhood held the majority. She said the
description was vague at this point because elections had yet to be held in
Granger said the fact that the Israel aid was fully funded,
according to the terms of the memorandum of understanding, and was not
conditioned was a sign of the key relationship between the two
“It’s a priority because Israel’s important to the United
States,” she said, adding the large amount of aid for Israel was warranted under
the dictate that US assistance first and foremost had to preserve Israel’s
Though most of the Middle East aid was similar to
previous years, the overall spending package put out by Granger, at $39.6b., is
less than the approximately $50b. in foreign operations requested by the White
House, and 18 percent less than what was allocated for 2011.
noted the differences with Democrats on some of the spending items and
priorities, but that when it came to the PA, there was widespread agreement on
restricting funds based on their recent actions.
“There is absolute
support for this in the subcommittee,” she said. “The PA has made some
decisions, for instance when they said they would pursue that statehood bid at
the UN, they made that decision so that made us rethink what we had done in the
past and what we would do in the future.
It’s a very strong stand and I
stand behind it, and I would be amazed if the subcommittee did not also agree