US Congress Approves $4 Billion in Tax Aid to Israel, Cuts Aid to Palestine

24 Mar
8:18 PM

AIPAC President Mort Fridman has sent supporters an email announcing the approval, by US Congress, of almost $4 billion of US tax money to Israel, while cutting aid to Palestinians widows, orphans, Days of Palestine reports.

“Our work together just made a difference for Israel’s security and for its future,” wrote Fridman, according to If Americans Knew Blog.

“Early this morning, the United States Congress passed major pro-Israel legislation as part of its Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018.

“This legislation includes many critical initiatives that will bolster Israel’s security, including:

  • $3.1 billion for U.S. security assistance to Israel, to help our ally defend herself and protect her citizens. [See this]
  • $705.8 million for missile defense programs, representing $105 million more than last year’s funding level. [See this]
  • $47.5 million for joint anti-tunneling technologies, a $5 million increase from last year. [More info on US aid to Israel]

“The bill was also the vehicle for Congress to pass the Taylor Force Act, critical legislation that cuts funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues paying terrorists or their families.”

Reacting to the inclusion of the Taylor Force Act in the United States spending bill for 2018, Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) General Delegation to the United States, said on Saturday that with this act, the US Congress is rewarding occupation and punishing those who seek peace.

“Halting aid to the Palestinian Authority as a tool for a politically-motivated financial pressure does not work, and severely damages the prospects for peace in the Middle East,” said Zomlot in a statement. “The bill rewards the illegal Israeli occupation and ongoing violations of human rights, while simultaneously punishing the Palestinian Authority, which is the only agency committed to peace and nonviolence, and undermines the American-Palestinian bilateral relationship and decades of U.S. investments in the two-state solution.”

Zomlot added that “Congress’ bias is flagrantly obvious, targeting a stipend program that provides dignity and education for children and families of the victims of occupation, and security for both sides, while turning a blind eye towards Israel’s daily violations of US policy and international law.”

He said, according to WAFA, that the Taylor Force Act, which calls for cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority due to the latter’s financial support to families of Palestinians who resisted the Israeli occupation and got either killed or imprisoned, represents the most recent effort in this 30 year old trend of legislations that deliberately targets the Palestinian people.

Congress has targeted the PLO as a terrorist organization since 1987 to date, despite the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel’s recognition of the PLO, and the numerous bilateral agreements with the United States.

“The ongoing bias against Palestinians in Congress is not irreversible. We have taken notice of the principled and brave members of Congress who have raised concerns over the Taylor Force Act. Also, we are inspired by recent efforts to promote Palestinian children’s rights included in H.R. 4391 Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act introduced by the courageous Rep. Betty McCollum to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detentions and mistreatment of Palestinian children,” said Zomlot.

 

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