The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that members of the US Congress and experts are urging the White House to take advantage of a new tool to advance the peace process in the Middle East, which has broad support from lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives.
The newspaper indicated – in a news report – that Congress had ratified last December the “Nita Lowy Partnership for Middle East Peace Act” that grants the Palestinians $250 million in aid over 5 years “in order to expand programs to consolidate the relationship between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, and to promote joint economic projects to help support the Palestinian economy.”
The fund is the largest US investment in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process to date and the first effort of its kind to be passed in Congress since the 1993 Oslo Accords
The newspaper reported that many are hopeful that the aforementioned law will provide the administration of US President Joe Biden with a “new tool” to invest in peace-building efforts on the ground.
Although nearly 6 months have passed since Congress ratified this law, the White House has not yet implemented it, even though it enjoys bipartisan support and the blessing of all the major parties in Washington with an interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And the Israeli newspaper reported that almost all of the sources I spoke to admitted that the US administration is haunted by endless misgivings, and it is still in the process of establishing itself.
Those sources hope that the US administration will understand the urgent need to put the “Neta Lowe” law into effect “given the recent outbreak of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
Official statistics indicate that the recent Israeli military campaign on the Gaza Strip – which lasted for 11 days – caused massive destruction, including 1,800 housing units, including towers.
Haaretz quoted US Senator Tim Kaine as saying that the Partnership for Peace in the Middle East Act represents a “strong partisan campaign” to advance economic programs and build peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
“After recent events, it is more important than ever for the (US) administration to start implementing this law, which I am proud to help pass, in order to build trust at the grassroots level and relationships along the lines of conflict,” he added.
And the newspaper quoted the Executive Director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, John Lyndon, as saying that the Biden administration was lucky in many respects as it assumed the reins of government to find this “effective” partisan tool ready for implementation from day one.
lack of confidence
It is not yet clear – according to Haaretz – whether the US Agency for International Development, the State Department, and the Development Finance Corporation are working in concert to expedite the implementation of the Neta Lowe Partnership for Peace in the Middle East Act.
The first step to enacting the law is to form an advisory board of 13 members of Congress, 6 from each party, plus another person chosen by USAID President Samantha Power.
According to the Executive Director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace John Lyndon, there are 13 million people living in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Lyndon believes that 90% of Palestinians do not trust Israeli Jews, compared to 79% of Israeli Jews who do not trust their Palestinian counterparts.
The newspaper concludes by quoting a statement from Lyndon, who said, “We need significant resources in the medium and long term to change this statistic and the policies that follow.”