AIPAC opposes act prohibiting Israel from using US funds for annexation

“It politicizes US support for Israel's security."

PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington. (Brian Snyder/Reuters) (photo credit: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)
PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)
WASHINGTON – An amendment sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen politicizes US support for Israel’s security and should be opposed, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Monday.
Last week, a group of 13 Senate Democrats filed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit Israel from using US security assistance funds for the annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Van Hollen (D-Maryland) spearheaded the amendment. He was joined by senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), among others.
“This amendment contradicts the Obama-Biden MOU and goes far beyond current law in ways that damage American interests, risk Israel’s security, and make peace less likely,” AIPAC said in a statement.
“Senator Van Hollen wants to ensure no US funds are used for annexation. But that’s already law,” the statement reads. “Aid can only be used for ‘internal security, for legitimate self-defense.’ This amendment goes far beyond current law in ways that jeopardize Israel’s security.”
“It’s dangerous to weaken Israel’s defenses,” AIPAC said, noting that the amendment also restricts where Israel can place lifesaving missile-defense systems such as Iron Dome.
“As Iran expands its missile program, and Hamas and Hezbollah possess over 150,000 rockets and missiles, it is dangerous to threaten Israel’s ability to fully utilize these defenses,” AIPAC said.
“Threats to its security embolden Israel’s enemies and cause ordinary Israelis to question the wisdom of taking further risks for peace,” it added. “Our only stable, democratic ally in the Middle East faces unprecedented threats and challenges. America must stand with our ally, and Congress must not politicize US security assistance to Israel.”
J Street, the progressive Jewish group, rejected AIPAC’s statement.
“The Van Hollen amendment says US aid should be used for Israel’s defense, not Netanyahu’s annexation of the West Bank,” it said in a tweet. “To be clear, AIPAC is arguing that your tax dollars should help pay for annexation,” it added.
Last week, when he introduced the amendment, Van Hollen said: “I am a strong supporter of robust security assistance to our friend and ally Israel, including the Memorandum of Understanding forged by president Obama, providing $3.8 billion in annual Foreign Military Financing and missile defense support. However, I oppose the use of any of these funds to support the unilateral annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.”
Neither the US government nor American taxpayers should finance or facilitate the move, he said.
“No US funds are currently being expended on unilateral annexation, and this amendment would ensure that remains the case,” Van Hollen said. “We must work together to pursue a viable, negotiated, two-state solution.”