Pro-Israel Congress members push bill for investment in PA

Bipartisan bill would invest US funds in the Palestinian Authority.

JTA, Arutz Sheva Staff ,

United States Capitol building
United States Capitol building

A bipartisan slate of lawmakers in Congress introduced a bill that would invest in businesses in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

Under the measure, the United States would contribute $50 million a year to investments in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and seek private sector partners for additional investments.

“This bipartisan bill is a genuine attempt by the United States to regenerate our historic role in finding creative and imaginative pathways to secure a sustainable peace,” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., said in a statement released Tuesday jointly with Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., his partner in introducing the bill.

“This starts by re-creating new and better economic and interpersonal linkages for prosperity and interconnectedness between the region’s peoples.”

Four senators — Chris Coons, D-Del.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Tim Kaine, D-Va.; and Cory Gardner, R-Col. — simultaneously introduced companion legislation in their body.

Notably, the lawmakers sponsoring the bill are pro-Israel leaders in Congress with the clout to get it passed — particularly Lowey, who is Jewish and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and Graham, the chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I have always believed that a two-state solution is the only framework that would lead to two states for two peoples,” Lowey said in the statement. “But this dream will only be realized through efforts on the ground to stimulate economic development and community ties between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The statement says the bill has the backing of centrist Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Notably, the bill would seem to restore funding for Israeli-PA dialogue; the Trump administration cut off $10 million in funding for “coexistence” programs. The Alliance for Middle East Peace, which helps facilitate the funding for dialogue groups, also backs the bill.

Separately, US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt told an Israeli news site that the Trump administration was dedicated to an outcome that would unite Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza under a single authority.

“Our peace plan intends to bring them together,” Greenblatt told Ynet. “Make no mistake; we are in this to help all Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Gaza.”

Kushner, Greenblatt and their team have yet to release the plan, but both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have rejected it.