At a time when Congress is working to save America from defaulting on the country’s debt by cutting spending and reevaluating federally funded programs, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, threatened the members of the House of Representatives by saying she will “recommend personally” that Obama veto HR 2583, a bill that, as its sponsor Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) states, would save billions of U.S. tax dollars “from being wasted on foreign organizations, programs, and governments that work to undermine U.S. interests abroad,” such as those in Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority.
Nevertheless, Clinton insists that the bill contains “crippling restrictions on security assistance where maximum flexibility is needed, especially with regard to the governments of Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen, and to the Palestinian Authority.”
The CNN story on the legislation devotes six out of 15 paragraphs to the bill and its supporters with the remainder of the story focused on Secretary Clinton and its opponents. This blog post will attempt to address that imbalance.
Sec 207 of the bill states, “Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected as they have been by Israel since 1967,” and that “the President and the Secretary of State should publicly affirm as a matter of United States policy that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” It is also written that U.S. officials should not contradict this law. In other words, President Obama’s foreign policy speech on May 19th need not apply—Israel will not go back to pre-1967 borders.
The bill also secures funding for Israel’s missile defense system and “Provide[s] assistance for research, development, and test and evaluation, and fielding of the Iron Dome Air Defense Missile System.” Israel’s Iron Dome Air Defense Missile System intercepts short-range rockets, missiles, and mortars, enabling Israel to defend herself on the highest level against the utmost terror.
In terms of Egypt, the bill outlines in sec 951, that the only way the country can receive U.S. aid is under these circumstances:
(1) The Government of Egypt is not directly or indirectly controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, its affiliates or supporters;
(2) The Government of Egypt is fully implementing the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty; and
(3) The Government of Egypt is detecting and destroying the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza strip.
As for Lebanon, the U.S. will not provide security assistance to the government of Lebanon unless the President provides a certification that determines (sec 962): “no member of Hezbollah or any other a foreign terrorist organization serves in any policy position in a ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Lebanon.” This first bullet point already proves that U.S. should end aid to Lebanon, considering that “Hezbollah is a major force in the new coalition government.”
This part of the bill also restricts Lebanon from utilizing U.S. security assistance against the State of Israel.
Now for the Palestinian Authority—the U.S. will not provide funding to the Palestinian Authority, unless otherwise determined by the President that (This isn’t the full list, just key restrictions):
1) No member of Hamas or any other foreign terrorist organization serves in any policy position in a ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority;
(2) the Palestinian Authority is dismantling all foreign terrorist organizations infrastructure, confiscating unauthorized weapons, thwarting and preempting terrorist attacks, and fully cooperating with Israel’s security services;
(3) the Palestinian Authority has halted all anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority-controlled electronic and print media and in schools, mosques, and other institutions it controls, and is replacing these materials, including textbooks, with materials that promote tolerance, peace, and coexistence with Israel;
(4) there exists within the Palestinian Authority comprehensive anti-terrorism vetting and tracking procedures for all Palestinian Security Forces personnel benefitting from United States security assistance; and
(5) The Palestinian Authority has and continues to publicly acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state
Hamas holds seats in the Palestinian Authority and the two parties signed a reconciliation agreement, and the PA has yet to halt anti-Israel incitement as well as to publicly acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.
This raises the question: why does the PA deserve U.S. aid and why would Clinton want this vetoed?
Yemen: the U.S. will only provide security assistance to Yemen if “no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Yemen is controlled by a foreign terrorist organization or is directly or indirectly affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization.”
HR 2583 has been considered in the committee and is on the calendar for a vote in the House of Representatives. Clinton’s recommended veto threat does nothing to benefit the U.S. or Israel and does everything to benefit the countries that undermine U.S. values. Passing the bill in the House and then the Senate gives the government the opportunity to reinstate effective foreign policy.