Prevent Unnecessary Restrictions on Aid to the Palestinian Authority

Dear friends of Brit Tzedek,

Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives placed unprecedented conditions on the $200 million in emergency supplemental funding the Bush Administration is seeking to assist the Palestinians. 

Your Senator sits on the Appropriations Committee, which is scheduled to mark up the foreign assistance bill on April 6th before it is sent to the full Senate for a vote. We ask you to send an email and/or call your Senator before the end of the day on Tuesday April 5 and urge support for the President's aid request without any new conditions.

While no one can argue with the goal of ensuring accountability and transparency in any foreign aid package, the conditions imposed by the House went far beyond the mark, requiring compliance with conditions more stringent than those set when Yasser Arafat was President of the Palestinian Authority.

Examples of these unprecedented conditions include:

  • Two New Audits: The House required two new audits and designated that $5 million of the $200 million be spent on just one of these audits. These two audits are in addition to the existing audits and reviews already required by U.S. law for all aid to the Palestinians and were deemed adequate by Congress to ensure accountability and transparency during the Arafat era;

  • An Onerous New Report: The House mandated that the President prepare a comprehensive report on Palestinian progress on a laundry list of policy areas, none of which are related to the oversight or use of U.S. financial assistance; and

  • Elimination of the Presidential Waiver: The House eliminated the President’s ability to exercise a waiver over restrictions on aid to the Palestinians if he deems it to be in the interests of national security. Never before has Congress chosen to eliminate this common sense safeguard for the President, even during times of considerable violence and tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is hard to imagine any justification for any one of these additional conditions, let alone the entire set. At this time of renewed hope and progress toward peace, the U.S. must send a wholly different message: a message of support for the path of peace and non-violence which was overwhelmingly and democratically chosen by the Palestinian people. 

Please share this Action Alert with family, friends, and colleagues in your state, and tell them about Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.

B'shalom,

Steve Masters, Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy
Diane Balser, Vice President and co-Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy 



Send a letter to the following decision maker:
Your Senator on the Appropriations Committee 

Sample Letter:

Subject: Support Aid to the PA without New Conditions

Dear [ Senator ],

As your constituent and as an American Jew, I am writing to request that you approve the President's $200 million supplemental aid request for the Palestinians without imposing any new conditions.

I understand that the House has placed unprecedented new conditions on this aid that bear no relationship to ensuring accountability or transparency for the funds. These new requirements - including two additional audits (at a cost of over $5 million), an onerous new report on Palestinian reform and the elimination of the President's national security waiver - cannot possibly serve the interests of the United States.

At this time of heightened hope and renewed progress toward peace, our country must send a strong message of support and encouragement to the Palestinian people, and to Prime Minister Abbas in particular.

Earlier this year you approved an important resolution recognizing that a new day has arrived in American/Palestinian relations.

It is unfathomable that such a new era be greeted by the imposition of onerous conditions which far exceed any imposed while Yasser Arafat led the Palestinian Authority.

I urge you to fully support this aid package without any additional conditions. Existing law contains sufficient safeguards to ensure accountability and transparency for U.S. foreign aid and President Bush must be able to retain the power traditionally accorded all Presidents to guide U.S. foreign policy according to our national security interests.

Please don't place any barriers in the way of a Palestinian leadership committed to living in peace with the State of Israel.


Sincerely,

[Your Name] 


Take Action!

Instructions:
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What's At Stake:
Ask your Senator -- who is on the Appropriations Committee -- to oppose placing overly restrictive conditions on Palestinian aid in the foreign assistance bill.

The conditions placed on the aid by the House two weeks ago are far more onerous than any imposed while Yasser Arafat led the Palestinian Authority and would significantly undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ ability to deliver to his people the tangible benefits of the non-violence he espouses and President Bush’s ability to guide U.S. foreign policy promoting a negotiated two-state resolution to the conflict that is clearly in the security interests of our nation.

Additional links:
"For the Senate—A No-Brainer." By M.J. Rosenberg. IPF Friday; April 1, 2005 

"House Sets Limits on Palestinian Aid As DeLay Defies Calls of Bush, Rice." By Ori Nir. Forward, March 18, 2005 [Note: You will need a free online Forward account to view this article.] 


Campaign Expiration Date:
April 6, 2005


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