January 20, 2021

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Congress proposes to fund grassroots peace initiatives that Mahmoud Abbas would never allow




Starting on page 307 of a State Department appropriations bill is a proposal for funding a “Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020.”

(a) ESTABLISHMENT.—Beginning on the date that is one year after the date of enactment of this section,  the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development is authorized to establish a program to provide funding for projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians and for a sustainable two-state solution. The program established under this subsection shall be known as the ‘People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund’ (referred to in this section as the ‘Fund’).

(b) ELIGIBILITY FOR SUPPORT.—In providing funding for projects through the Fund, the Administrator may provide support for qualified organizations, prioritizing 10 those organizations that seek to build better cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, including Palestinian organizations, Israeli organizations, and international organizations that bring Israelis and Palestinians together.

This is all very nice. But it doesn’t account for the fact that “normalization” is a dirty word in the Palestinian territories. The PA is dead-set against any program that treats Israelis as human beings that can be cooperated with. People who try to do things like this are ostracized. PLO official Hanan Ashrawi’s Miftah organization is explicitly against any grassroots programs that cooperate with Israelis.  Once Mahmoud Abbas threatened any Palestinian who dared to shop in an Israeli-owned supermarket, and the PA said they would photograph license plates of Arab customers. Even Haaretz writer Amira Hass, who drips hate for the Jewish state, was expelled from an anti-Israel conference in Bir Zeit University because (Jewish) Israelis aren’t allowed on campus.

Because that would be “normalization.”

Perhaps conceding that the bill would fund practically nothing, it adds another part:

(c) ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY FOR SUPPORT.—In providing funding for projects through the Fund, The Administrator may additionally provide support to qualified organizations that further shared community building, peaceful co-existence, dialogue, and reconciliation between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.

There are plenty of those.

The EU had gone through this as well, trying mightily to fund Israeli-Palestinian grassroots peace initiatives and ending up funding Israeli Arab-Jewish programs.

Because Israel is the only place that actually wants peace.

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