Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to provide $3.3 billion in annual aid to Israel, seeking to put into law an aid agreement between the two countries reached in 2016 amid concern over rising Middle East tensions. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Coons co-sponsored the bill, a standalone provision of a broader measure that stalled a year ago, according to a text of the bill seen by Reuters.
A pro-Israel activist group is quietly pushing lawmakers on Capitol Hill and key officials in the White House to embrace a plan that would entail paying Palestinian residents in the West Bank to move abroad. The plan is a bid to reshape the ethnic and religious population of territories controlled by Israel, according to the head of the group, called the Alliance for Israel Advocacy.
The document, a diplomatic cable marked “sensitive,” was sent from the American embassy in Tel Aviv to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on January 3, 2018. It describes an unnamed Israeli Ministry of Defense official expressing concern about any attempts to cut funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
One of the largest Ebola outbreaks in history shows no signs of slowing — and the Trump administration barred US health experts who want to help at the outbreak’s epicenter in the Democratic Republic of Congo from traveling there. The relatively tepid response from the US, at a time when the outbreak is spiraling, has former CDC officials and global health experts concerned. “I do worry that in the worst-case scenario, we could have an outbreak of tens of thousands of people,” said Daniel Bausch, the director of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, “and complete destabilization of an already unstable region.”
Donald Trump has threatened to cut off millions of dollars of aid to Honduras if it fails to stop a group of as many as 2,000 migrants fleeing violence and poverty who are attempting to the reach the US border overland. Guatemalan police detained the migrant caravan’s spokesman on Tuesday, a day after the group defied warnings from local authorities and crossed the border from Honduras.
The Trump administration is considering taking back more than $3 billion in foreign aid that Congress already approved, in a move that senators from both parties are calling questionably legal and promising to resist.The Office of Management and Budget instructed the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development earlier this month to provide a balance sheet of foreign aid projects that have not yet been funded. Unless Congress intervenes, the money may be returned to the U.S. Treasury at the end of fiscal year on Sept. 30.
The United States has withdrawn from Unesco over what it claims is the organisation’s “continuing anti-Israel bias” – a move that has just been followed by Israel itself. The US State Department recently announced its intention to withdraw from the UN’s cultural, scientific and educational organisation and become a permanent observer instead.
Women in some of the poorest countries in the world are already feeling the effects of the Trump administration's sweeping changes to foreign aid, and the impact will only widen, advocates say. The reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy will lead to unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths and even more poverty, says one of the world's largest family planning organizations.
For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.
We Americans have funny notions about foreign aid. Recent polls show that, on average, we believe 28% of the federal budget is eaten up by it, and that, in a time of austerity, this gigantic bite of the budget should be cut back to 10%. In actual fact, barely 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid of any kind. Overall, the United States covers nearly one quarter of Israel’s defense budget — from tear gas canisters to F-16 fighter jets. In their 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces made use of M-92 and M-84 “dumb bombs,” Paveway II and JDAM guided “smart bombs,” AH-64 Apache attack helicopters equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire guided missiles, M141 “bunker defeat” munitions, and special weapons like M825A1 155mm white phosphorous munitions — all supplied as American foreign aid.