Senate Democrats Submit Legislation to Prevent Aid to Israel from Helping Annexed Areas
An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act has been submitted by Democratic senators in an effort to assure that no American funding earmarked for Israel’s defense will be used for the benefit of Israeli communities located on land conquered in the 1967 war. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has, with a nod from the White House, vowed to formally annex land in the West Bank and Jordan Valley – a move that has enraged Palestinians and has been eschewed by most of the international community. The so-called issue of annexation has proven to be one of the most contentious matters to emerge within the context of the U.S.- Israel relationship in recent years, even dividing those solidly within the pro-Israel political sphere. Initiated by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the amendment would prohibit the American aid money from being used to advance the annexation. It is also a formula for members of Congress to register their dissent on the issue but not taking any action as drastic as redirecting the annual $3.8 billion military aid package to construction and humanitarian programs in the Gaza Strip as senators such as Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) have suggested.