COVID-19 relief bill includes hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian aid: report

The nearly 6,000-page COVID-19 relief bill set to be voted on late Monday sets aside $250 million in investment aid for the Palestinians and for encouraging Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in a provision called the “Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020,” the Breitbart reports.

The Lowey Act, named for retiring Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), would spend $50 million per year for the next five years, due to economic stagnation in the Palestinian Territories and the likelihood for economic development in the region to help promote peace.

Back in July, a version of the act was passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, the Times of Israel reported at the time.

Under the Taylor Force Act of 2018, Congress limited U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, barring American taxpayer money from being sent to the Palestinian government as long as the entity continues to give money to terrorists and their families.

The Lowey Act would launch the “People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund,” which would be run by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to “provide funding for projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians and for a sustainable two-state solution.”

Moreover, the fund would have an advisory board of 13 members, alongside two members “who are representatives of foreign governments or international organizations for renewable periods of 3 years.”

The act would also support initiatives that promote dialogue between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel and would found the “Joint Investment for Peace Initiative,” which would offer investment funding for “projects that contribute to the development of the Palestinian private sector economy in the West Bank and Gaza.”

It should also be mentioned that the provision would ban the funding from being used to aid any foreign government, including the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It also bans funds from being provided to any group considered to be involved in, or promoting, terrorism.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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