Many on the left oppose the existence of Israel. They consider the Israelis to be unjust oppressors occupying someone else’s land, despite the fact that it’s rightfully theirs. Because of this, many believe that terrorism against the country is justified. Fortunately, Republicans are pushing back against.
Earlier this week, the Senate passed a bill providing billions of dollars in aid to Israel. Additionally, the legislation makes it clear that if Palestinians continue to fund terrorism, our government will pull its funding, putting them on notice. Hopefully, this will help make the region safer.
According to reports, U.S. Senators were largely in favor of a $1.1 trillion funding bill, voting 79-18 in its favor. The bill, also known as the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017, gives Israel $3.1 billion in aid. It also sets aside $600 million for important joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, which is an increase of $113 million over last year, and $42.5 million for continued joint development of technologies to combat terrorism. On top of that, the country will receive an additional $75 million to help with their overall security. Further, it makes it possible for Congress to reduce funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if they, along with the Palestine liberation Organization (PLO) and any affiliates, give any money to known terrorists or their family.
Legislators passed this bill a day after President Donald Trump met with the PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Leading up to their meeting, conservatives pressed the president to confront Abbas about the fact that his organization supports terrorism. When asked by reporters about the issue, Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, confirmed that he did indeed talk about the PA giving money to terrorists and their families, but didn’t expand any further than that.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) came out in support of the legislation. In a statement, they said, “[our organization] applauds Congress for including key provisions to help Israel address critical security challenges in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017.” They believe that since things have increasingly gotten worse in the region, the country needs all the help they can get.
More than anything, Israel is worried about Iran. Like Palestine, they’re well-known supporters of Islamic extremism. In 2015, the Obama administration called the country “the foremost sponsor of terrorism.” Rex Tillerson, the new Secretary of State, agrees with that assessment. In addition to their funding of jihadis in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Israel, he’s accused the country of harassing U.S. naval vessels, conducting cyber attacks, arbitrarily detaining foreigners, including U.S. citizens, and violating U.N. resolutions by carrying out a series of missile tests. Fortunately, now that he’s in charge, he’s promised to hold them accountable. To show that he’s serious, he recently announced that the administration is reviewing the terms of their nuclear deal.
Many conservatives were extremely upset when the nuclear deal was first approved under former President Barack Obama. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), understands how dangerous the nuclear deal is to the region. When asked about what he thought about the agreement, he claimed, “[it’s a] possible death sentence for Israel,” adding, “my initial impression is that this deal is far worse than I ever dreamed it could be and will be a nightmare for the region, our national security and eventually the world at large.”
The former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush also argued spoke out against the deal. He’s worried that Iran will use it to acquire nuclear weapons. “History is full of examples of when you enable people or regimes who don’t embrace democratic values you get a bad result…it’s called appeasement,” he reasoned.
Congress has made it clear that our country will not tolerate terrorism. It doesn’t matter if the country is directly involved in the illegal activity. If they support jihadis financially, then we’ll withhold funds. Doing so will help reduce terrorism, making a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine much more likely. If Trump is able to broker a deal between the two historic rivals, he will undeniably be the world’s greatest negotiator. Given his track record, this is a real possibility.