The American Federation of Ramallah Palestine (AFRP) condemns the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s key provisions included this week in the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2018 that support the occupation of Palestine by providing unequivocal support to Israel.
The bill provides $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel — a country that illegally occupies and oppress millions of Palestinians. At times where our large cities in the United States are struggling to receive funding for their school districts, the committee provided Israel the authority to stockpile weapons until the end of 2019. It also provides Israel with $7.5 million to assist with refugee resettlement, a private gram that forcibly displaces indigenous Palestinian people from their homes.
The bill and its accompanying report also include additional dangerous provisions that prohibits funding to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a core resource for Palestinian refugees, in order to suppress the organization’s discussion of Israel’s human rights violations. The committee’s bill also seeks to financially punish the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and other related organizations if they try to obtain membership as a state at the United Nations or initiate International Criminal Court investigation against Israel.
Furthermore, the provisions request that the U.S. State Department fully describe the “anti-Israel activities” of these UN entities in its annual report, while also cutting vital funds from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The committee asks for a report justifying funding for UNRWA, asking how its operations are related to US national interests.
These measures are written with a tone of inequality. It grants Israel money from US taxpayers to displace Palestinians from their homes, which is a human rights violation, while at the same time restricting funding to UNRWA and UNHRC, two of the most important sources of basic human necessities for Palestinian refugees.
The AFRP, which represents over 40,000 American Palestinians, condemns this blatant AIPAC-driven legislation and calls on congress to stop its financial, military and legislative support for the occupation of Palestine. These threats against Palestinian leadership defy the civil liberties Americans fought for generations to have today. The AFRP calls on all members of Congress to stop these measures from passing the House of Representatives and seeks open dialogue with those congressmen who openly support such un-American provisions.