December 28, 2020

After over a decade of ALLMEP advocacy: the largest ever investment in Israeli/Palestinian peacebuilding is enacted into law

The Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, historic legislation delivering unprecedented levels of funding for peacebuilding in Israel and Palestine, has now passed into law. The law provides $250 million over five years to expand peace and reconciliation programs in the region, as well as to support projects to bolstering the Palestinian economy. This legislation is the result of over a decade of advocacy by the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) toward the creation of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. 

Spearheaded by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D, NY-17), Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R, NE-01), Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the law contains language that encourages international cooperation. It prioritizes peacebuilding and reconciliation programming in order to disrupt growing polarization and dehumanization in the region, helping to lay foundations for a genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis. After a week of uncertainty, President Trump signed into law an Omnibus Budget package that included the Fund, which had earlier passed both Houses of Congress on December 21st. 

ALLMEP has long anticipated this to be the first step in a broader, multilateral project, and there is already growing international support for this effort. On November 17th, British MPs held a 90 minute debate in Westminster Hall, where every parliamentarian who spoke endorsed the concept and urged the United Kingdom to join the project, with Under Secretary of State James Duddridge committing to examine whether the UK will do so following the President-elect Biden’s inauguration in January. 

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, the House Appropriations Chairwoman and the lead Democrat on the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, which passed the US House of Representatives over the summer, stated, “It’s my fervent wish that before I retire, I will have helped cement congressional support for your work through the passage of the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act. Together, we have come so far to advance this legislation through the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support.”

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and the lead Republican on the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, stated, “We have worked so hard to achieve a new, positive vision for what can happen when we bring people together…in projects that are mutually beneficial.  We often talk about a roadmap for peace, and every road needs a foundation.  [The Middle East Partnership for Peace Act] is that foundation.” 

This historic enactment comes days after ALLMEP held its largest ever event, “Shine a Light.” This virtual gala aimed to explain this fund to a wider audience, amplify the vital work of ALLMEP’s 125+ member organizations, and build support for ALLMEP’s programs in the region as well as its advocacy efforts around the world. 

John Lyndon, Executive Director of ALLMEP, said: “We thank Chairwoman Lowey, Congressman Fortenberry, Senator Coons, and Senator Graham for their dedication to ensuring that this vision—which ALLMEP has championed for over ten years—has now been brought to life. With Israelis and Palestinians more polarized than ever, this Fund can radically scale programs designed to upend that reality, creating the relationships, movements and leaders that any just and equitable peace depends upon. We are also excited about the opportunity this legislation opens for a genuinely multilateral strategy, allowing the US to lead on the creation of a new, inclusive and institutionalized approach to peacebuilding alongside its global allies.” 

 

Additional Press on the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act:

“U.S. earmarks $250 million for Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding” – Ynet

“Congress passes omnibus spending bill, including boosted nonprofit security grants” – Jewish Insider

“Fiscal 2021 Spending Package in Amended HR 133 (Corrected)” – Bloomberg Government

“Omnibus spending package reflects shaky detente in Trump’s final chapter” – Roll Call

“US Congress approves $250m for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue programs in omnibus” – Times of Israel

“Joe Biden Will Enjoy One Advantage No President Ever Had on Israel-Palestine”– Haaretz

“PeaceCast Episode #163: ALLMEP’s $250 Million Achievement”– Americans for Peace Now

Coalition Statements on the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act:

AIPAC

American Jewish Committee

Anti-Defamation League

Israel Policy Forum

JCPA

J Street

 

WATCH: New ALLMEP video explaining the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, and marking the passage of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act.

 

To watch “Shine a Light,” click here.

Additional Press on “Shine a Light”: