Congressional Middle East Peace Initiative: Funding NGOs Not Peace
What a name: “Partnership Fund for Peace.” What a goal: promoting peace in the Middle East. That should sum up legislation introduced in Congress last week. But what a waste, because the Fund, which will be given $250 million of U.S. taxpayer money for its first five years in existence, is nothing more than a retread of past Middle East projects, so many of which are already being funded and not one of which has moved the peace needle one inch forward.
The stated overarching goal of the bill’s sponsors is to “help create the necessary conditions on the ground to support an eventual two-state solution.”
The bill’s sponsors are Democrats Rep. Nita Lowey (NY) and Senators Tim Kaine (VA) and Chris Coons (DE) and Republicans Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE) and Senators Cory Gardner (CO) and Lindsey Graham (SC). They claim the Fund is intended to promote economic health for Palestinian Arab companies and entrepreneurs, to improve the quality of life and stimulate the economy of Palestinian Arabs and to “further shared community building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians by financing people-to-people peacebuilding programs.”
Using international funds to stop Palestinian Arabs from engaging in terrorism is the standard western response to the conflict. One stark difference is that PFfP funds cannot be made available either to the Israeli government or to Hamas, the Palestinian Authority or the PLO. That’s good. But the primary source through which funding will be distributed is non-governmental organizations (NGOs): that’s not so good.
THE LEGISLATION WOULD FUND MERELY A PART OF ONE NGO’S OWN ‘PEACE’ PLAN
The PFfP legislation is actually the funding dream of one such NGO, the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP). The sponsoring legislators are merely the surrogate birth parents of ALLMEP’s International Fund for Palestinian-Israeli Peace conceived of earlier this century.
After five years of lobbying and convincing center and leftist Jewish organizations to buy into yet another iteration of Middle East Peace Plans, ALLMEP hopes their pet project reaches fruition in this Congress.
The renewed impetus now, stated explicitly in the PFfP’s press release and in media accounts, is the imagined stalling of the Trump Administration’s peace plan due to the need for new Israeli elections. But the first wave of that plan is still scheduled for later this month in Bahrain. It is heavily weighted toward bringing in Arab stakeholders to provide Palestinian Arabs with a huge economic incentive to eschew violence and reduce their dependence on the utterly failed Palestinian Arab political – and terror-supporting – leadership.