In a letter to President Barack Obama, 116 members of Congress stated support for the Administration's efforts to maintain current levels of foreign aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The letter also urged the administration to reaffirm the United States' leadership in pursuit of two-state resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The letter was initiated by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Anna Eshoo (CA-14).
Dear Mr. President:
We write in the wake of historic events in the Middle East over the past month, recognizing that these are critical times for the people of the Arab world, for us as Americans, and for our ally Israel.
We support your effort to shape American policy in the region in ways that promote democracy, more open societies, strong economies and lasting security - all of which are essential to the long-term interests of the United States, Israel, and the people of the Middle East. The United States, as the global champion of democracy and freedom, must stand with people across the region who are advocating peacefully for their rights and freedoms to improve their lives.
In this context, we support your administration's efforts to prevent reductions in foreign aid that advance U.S. interests in the Middle East and to forestall efforts to separate aid to Israel from other assistance. We are committed to working in Congress toward continuing this important aid and appreciate your support for these efforts. We also write to express our support for your administration's active promotion of a stable and secure future for the region, in part by continuing to work with the parties and other regional actors toward a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We also strongly support your budget request providing $3.075 billion in assistance to Israel as agreed upon in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the United States. Israel faces very real challenges to its security, and reducing or otherwise endangering aid to Israel by removing it from the broader foreign aid package would be unproductive. At the exact moment Israel is being asked to take significant steps for peace, Israelis should know that the United States remains fully committed to their security.
We also encourage consistent aid to the Palestinian Authority. Your request for continued strong funding to strengthen institution and state-building efforts in the West Bank, to grow the economy, meet basic needs, and reduce the risk of terror aimed at Israel will greatly benefit the peace process. Moreover, a viable and stable PA is essential to achieving a negotiated, peaceful solution with Israel.
This moment in the Middle East represents an important opportunity to reaffirm the United States' leadership, vital to achieving a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that establishes two states for two people living side by side in peace and security. We offer our support for your efforts to make a better future in the Middle East a reality.
Altmire, Jason (PA-04)
Sources: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky