On June 5th, the Partnership Fund for Peace Act of 2019 (S 1727 and HR 3104) was introduced by a bipartisan coalition in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Fund, which will allocate up to $50 million a year once initiated, will actively work toward preserving a two-state future by creating grassroots people-to-people partnerships and joint opportunities for economic development among Israelis, Palestinians, and their American counterparts.
The bill was introduced by co-sponsors Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). We are urging all Federations and JCRCs to contact their Senators and members of Congress to ask them to support this important legislation.
JFNA and IAN are proud to support this imperative work, alongside a coalition with The Alliance for Middle East Peace, AIPAC, J Street, AJC, Americans for Peace Now, ADL, Churches for Middle East Peace, Alliance for Peacebuilding, and JCPA.
This legislation focuses on sustainable economic integration between Palestinians and Israelis. It aims not just to build businesses and create jobs, but also to tackle the incitement and dehumanization that have plagued both sides of the conflict.
This legislation is a critical step to foster the people-to-people society programs that are necessary to alleviate violence and tension and build the foundation for any resolution to the conflict.
Peace will not be possible until there is a unified effort to change both economic conditions and people’s attitudes toward one another. To achieve this, the act would:
· Authorize the Secretary of State – in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development – to establish the Partnership Fund for Peace (“Fund”) to facilitate and finance joint ventures and people-to-people exchanges in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza;
· Instruct the Administration to make every effort to seek additional contributions for the Fund from Middle Eastern countries, Europe, and the rest of the international community;
· Establish a governing entity for the fund, four members of whom would be appointed by the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives;
· Verify that national governments, any individual/group that is involved in or advocating for terrorist activity, or member of a foreign terrorist organization is ineligible for resources from the Fund;
· Clarifies that assistance from the Fund is subject to all relevant laws relating to Federal Government assistance, including the Taylor Force Act; and
· Authorize a contribution to the Fund for each of the Fiscal Years (FY) 2019-2024.