The coronavirus relief bill passed in December 2020 included $250 million over a five-year period for the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act. This is a summary of its provisions.
The Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020—enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021—establishes two special funds to support programs that encourage peaceful co-existence and expand economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. The legislation authorizes $50 million annually for five years divided among the two funds to support joint programs. All funds will be subject to applicable U.S. laws governing Palestinian assistance programs—including the Taylor Force Act. No funds may be provided to governments, the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, groups involved in terrorist activity or members of foreign terrorist organizations.
People-to-People Partnership for Peace
• The bill authorizes the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)to establish a “People-To-People Partnership for Peace” fund.
• The fund will support projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians, and can also be used for organizations bringing together Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.
• An advisory board of 13 individuals with regional expertise and most appointed by members of Congress will recommend projects for funding to the head of USAID.
Joint Investment for Peace Initiative
• The bill authorizes the Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation (USIFDC) to establish a program known as the “Joint Investment for Peace Initiative.”
• The initiative will provide investments in, and support to, entities that carry out projects that contribute to the development of the Palestinian private sector economy.
• Projects that increase economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians will receive priority. The initiative is authorized for ten years.
Funding and Oversight
• The bill authorizes $250 million over five years to carry out the two programs. Additional funding may be provided from the international community.
• Both programs will be subject to strict congressional oversight and reporting requirements.
• The projects are required to adhere to strict procedures that ensure no funds benefit designated terrorist groups.
• No funds can be provided to the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or any foreign nation.
•All funds will be subject to existing restrictions on funding to the Palestinians—including the Taylor Force Act.
Source: AIPAC, (December 22, 2020).