Message from AIPAC

December 18, 2015

Today is an important day for the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Just moments ago, Congress passed its annual spending bill, which includes several measures that significantly enhance America’s commitment to Israel’s safety. Key pro-Israel provisions within this bill include:

$3.1 billion in U.S. security assistance to Israel. This is the cornerstone of AIPAC’s bipartisan work with Congress each year, ensuring that Israel has the means to defend herself against mounting threats. It also reflects the full amount committed to Israel under the 2007 U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding.

$487 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs. This number more than triples the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2016.

$200 million for additional U.S. arms stockpiles in Israel. For each of the next two years, the United States will allot these funds to replenish U.S. military infrastructure housed in Israel, which can be used by Israel in emergency situations.

$40 million for a new U.S.-Israel tunnel detection program. This breakthrough initiative will directly help Israel combat the growing threat of underground terrorist tunnels from Gaza and Lebanon.

Together, these funds will provide essential resources for Israel to help keep her citizens safe. A few additional Israel-related measures within the bill include:

Oversight of the Iran nuclear deal. The administration will be required to report on Iran’s compliance with the deal. It will need to explain to Congress how Iran is using money released through sanctions relief. The U.S. Treasury Department will also be pressed to sanction Iranian entities involved in human rights, terrorism, or proliferation violations.

Consequences for unilateral Palestinian actions. The United States will continue to mandate that no funding will be provided to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it obtains state or member status at the United Nations or any specialized agency.

Repercussions for Palestinian actions at the ICC. The bill will shut down the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington and cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if it initiates or actively supports an investigation against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

Conditioned funding to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC). No U.S. funds are to be made available to the UNHRC unless the Secretary of State determines and reports that the Council is taking “significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.”

AIPAC has compiled a comprehensive list of the provisions affecting Israel, which may be accessed by clicking here.

These critical pro-Israel initiatives would not be possible without strong, bipartisan support in Congress. Thank you for your steadfast commitment to AIPAC, your work with Congress to advance the U.S.-Israel relationship, and your dedication to ensuring that America continues to stand with Israel.

I am honored to be part of this movement with you — especially on days like today.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

Robert A. Cohen
AIPAC President