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APN Legislative Round-up for the Week Ending July 29, 2011

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters
2. FY12 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations (House Markup) - the fun continues
3. State Department Authorization Bill (House) - more on the markup
4. State Department Authorization Bill (Senate) - details to follow
5. HFAC/MESA Subcommittee Hold Hearing on Syria and Iran
6 Odds and Ends

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters

(SAUDI ARABIA) S. Res. 216 : Introduced 6/23/11 by Sen. Boxer (D-CA) and having 11 cosponsors, "A resolution encouraging women's political participation in Saudi Arabia." 7/27/11, placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 114.

(MINORITIES IN THE MIDEAST) HR 440: Introduced 1/25/11 by Rep. Wolf (R-VA) and having 80 cosponsors, "To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia." Brought to the floor under suspension of the rules 7/27/11; vote postponed until 7/29/11.

(SYRIA) Ros-Lehtinen/Berman/Mack/Engel/Chabot/Ackerman letter: On 7/26/11 Reps. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Berman (D-CA), Mack (R-FL), Engel (D-NY), Chabot (R-OH) and Ackerman (D-NY) circulated a Dear Colleague seeking consigners on a letter urging President Obama to tighten sanctions on the Syrian regime. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

(WOMEN DRIVING IN KSA) Senate letter to King Abdullah: On 7/26/11 a group of 14 female Senators sent a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia calling for an end to the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. The list of signers/text of the letter is available here.

2. FY12 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations (House Markup) - the fun continues

On 7/26/11 the base text of the House version of the FY12 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (known colloquially as the ForOps bill) began to circulate. That text is available here (not formally introduced as of this writing, so no bill number).

On the morning of 7/27/11, the Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations met to mark up the text. The markup consisted of opening statements, no amendments, and passage of the base text by voice vote. The opening statement of Subcommittee Chair Granger (R-TX) is available here, and ranking minority member Lowey's (D-NY) is available here. The opening statement of the Chairman of the full Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rogers (R-KY) is available here, and ranking member Dicks' (D-WA) is available here.

Full committee markup of the bill is reportedly scheduled for 8/3/11. The bill itself is already very contentious (much more than usual) and like the State Department Authorization bill (discussed below) is likely to pass on a party-line vote. For more reporting on this, see this report from the Cable.

With respect to its Middle East provisions in the bill, the most notable are: a prohibition on any aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) unless the PA abandons its efforts to gain recognition at the UN (or anywhere else), with no waiver provided, even in the case where U.S. national security interests are at stake; and language that would require the closing of the PLO office in the U.S. and prohibit virtually all activities by the PLO in the United States if that same condition is not met, again with no waiver provided, even in the case where U.S. national security interests are at stake. In addition, the bill would effectively bar all military aid to Lebanon.

Details are as follows:

TITLE I - THE Department of State and Related Agencies

International Broadcasting Operations
Bill Text: "For necessary expenses to enable the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), as authorized, to carry out international communication activities, including the purchase, rent, construction, and improvement of facilities for radio and television transmission and reception and purchase, lease, and installation of necessary equipment for radio and television transmission and reception to Cuba, and to make and supervise grants for radio and television broadcasting to the Middle East, $730,037,000."

Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue
Bill text: The bill includes a perennial provision making available interest and earnings accruing to the Fund on or before the end of the fiscal year available until expended, "For necessary expenses of the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund."

Israeli Arab Scholarship Program
Bill text: The bill includes a perennial provision making all interest and earnings accruing to the Fund on or before the end of the fiscal year available until expended, "for necessary expenses of the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program as authorized by section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (22 U.S.C. 2452)."

TITLE III - BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

Economic Support Funds (ESF)

EGYPT: In previous years the ESF section of the bill generally included an earmark for ESF to Egypt, though this was generally a "ceiling" on aid ("not more than $xxx may be provided to Egypt") rather than a hard earmark ("$xxx shall be provided to Egypt"). This year's ESF section does not mention Egypt at all. An earmark for Egypt is included in Title VII of the bill, General Provisions, discussed below (as in the past, it is a "ceiling" rather than a hard earmark). It is worth noting that in the past, ESF for Egypt was conditioned on understandings related to Egyptian economic and democratic reforms, and much of the ESF was sub-earmarked for democracy, human rights, governance and education programs. All of that conditioning/sub-earmarking has been eliminated in this bill.

LEBANON: The bill stipulates that of the funds made available for assistance for Lebanon under this heading (the amount is not earmarked), $12 million "shall be made available for educational scholarships for students in Lebanon with high financial need."

In addition, the bill stipulates that no ESF funds "shall be made available for direct government-to-government assistance unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such assistance is not provided to any ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Lebanon that is headed or effectively controlled by Hezbollah or any other foreign terrorist organization." It is worth noting that this condition is different than the condition on FMF detailed in Title VI of the bill (the ESF formulation leaves the door open for government-to-government assistance to ministries, etc. that are not headed or controlled by Hezbollah; the FMF conditioning bars any assistance if any ministry, etc, is headed or controlled by Hezbollah).

JORDAN: The bill earmarks $360 million in ESF for Jordan, with no conditions.

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: The bill states that no ESF funds "may be made available for the Palestinian Authority unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that the Palestinian Authority is not attempting to establish or seek recognition at the United Nations of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians." There is no waiver provided for this condition. This condition is in addition to far-reaching conditions already imposed on aid to the PA (direct aid to the PA is already barred to the PA by law, in this bill contained in Sec. 7040). In addition, perennial law (in sec. 7036) already addresses the possibility of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state - that section (written in what now seem to have been saner times) lays out conditions for U.S. assistance to such a state, and actually provides the president a "clean" national security waiver of the conditions (i.e., the only condition of the waiver is that the national security interests of the U.S. are at stake, as opposed to the current trend of adding additional conditions to such a waiver, U.S. national security interests be damned). So perversely, under the new FY12 ForOps bill (as currently drafted), the U.S. cannot provide aid to the PA if it is seeking recognition of a state of Palestine, regardless of U.S. national security interests, but if the Palestinians go ahead and establish their state (unilaterally or otherwise), the U.S. can, under certain conditions or if the national security waiver is invoked, provide assistance.

Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA)
Bill text: The bill stipulates that not less than $20 million in MRA funds shall be available for the resettlement of refugees in Israel (the amount was $25 million in FY11).

TITLE IV - INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE

IAEA: The bill includes a perennial language stipulating that that funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the International Atomic Energy Agency only if the Secretary of State (and reports to Congress) that Israel is not being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.

Peacekeeping Operations (PKO): The bill earmarks $26 million for the U.S. contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.

Foreign Military Financing (FMF) - total for the entire program: $5,374,230,000

ISRAEL: The bill earmarks not less than $3,075,000,000 for FMF for Israel, to be disbursed within 30 days of the enactment of this Act. The bill stipulates that to the extent that the Government of Israel requests and as agreed by Israel and the U.S., these funds shall be made available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $808,725,000 shall be made available for procurement of articles and services in Israel, including research and development.

These little-remarked stipulations - early disbursal and permission for not less than almost $1 billion of FMF to be spent inside Israel - are unique to Israel's aid program. Both significantly increase the value of the assistance to Israel - and the cost of the assistance to the U.S. In all other cases, FMF is disbursed by the U.S. on an as-used basis, meaning that the U.S. either keeps the money in the U.S. Treasury until it is needed (where it earns interest) or if the money is not in the U.S. Treasury, does not have to borrow it until it is needed (meaning less interest paid). In the case of Israel, the entire almost $3.1 billion is handed over in a lump sum, by law, within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however it likes). In addition, in all other cases, FMF must be spent inside the U.S. (unless a specific exemption is granted). The logic behind this is that FMF is not just a "gift" to a foreign country but is actually a form of investment in the U.S. economy. In Israel's case, however, almost $1 billion of FMF is, in fact, a cash gift that benefits the military industry in Israel, not the U.S.

EGYPT: The bill states that "not less than $1,300,000,000 shall be made available for grants only for Egypt, including for border security programs and activities in the Sinai, with the expectation that the Egyptian military will continue to adhere to and implement its international obligations, particularly the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty." The bill also includes a perennial provision under which estimated current year outlays for Egypt shall be placed in an interest-bearing account within 30 days of the enactment of this Act (a provision added more than a decade ago to establish some semblance of parity with Israel's early disbursal provisions, enabling Egypt to earn interest on a portion of its annual aid).

JORDAN: The bill earmarks $300 million in FMF for Jordan, with no conditions or stipulations.

TITLE VII - GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 7007: Prohibition Against Direct Funding for Certain Countries
This is perennial bill language banning aid to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria, extending to loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents.

Sec. 7013: Prohibition on Taxation of United States Assistance
This is a perennial provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza. This reflects the genesis of the provision - the allegation in a previous year that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (and recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.

Sec. 7015 (f): Reprogramming Notification Requirements.
This section states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to Serbia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Iran, Haiti, Libya, Ethiopia, Nepal, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Burma, or Yemen except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committee on Appropriations.

Sec. 7021: Prohibition on Assistance to Foreign Governments that Expert Lethal Military Equipment to Countries Supporting International Terrorism
Perennial bill language banning assistance to governments that export lethal military equipment to countries supporting international terrorism; it includes a clean Presidential national security waiver.

Sec. 7022: Prohibition on Bilateral Assistance to Terrorist Countries
Perennial bill language prohibiting aid to any country which the President determines grants sanctuary to any individual or group that has committed an act of international terrorism, or any country that the President determines otherwise supports international terrorism. The language includes a clean national security waiver for the President.

********IMPORTANT************

Sec. 7034(b): Waiver (of longstanding ban on PLO activity in the U.S)
Every year the ForOps bill includes a provision, buried in this section (which is a grab-bag entitled "Special Provisions"), providing the President the authority to waive a piece of anti-Palestinian legislation that dates back to 1988 and is still on the books (Members of Congress never use up political capital repealing anti-Palestinian legislation). This provision has not been covered in the Round-Up in the past, for the simple reason that drawing attention to it seemed likely to spark efforts by anti-peace forces to remove or undermine it (the fact is, until now very few people knew the waiver exists or where it lived). This year's bill contains exactly such an effort.

The anti-Palestinian legislation in question is Section 1003 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, fiscal years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. 5202). It dates back to the earliest days of the peace process, when Congress was actively trying to block Administration moves to seriously engage - for the first time - the Palestinians. That section of law reads as follows:

ยง 5202. Prohibitions regarding PLO
It shall be unlawful, if the purpose be to further the interests of the Palestine Liberation Organization or any of its constituent groups, any successor to any of those, or any agents thereof, on or after the effective date of this chapter -
(1) to receive anything of value except informational material from the PLO or any of its constituent groups, any successor thereto, or any agents thereof;
(2) to expend funds from the PLO or any of its constituent groups, any successor thereto, or any agents thereof; or
(3) notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, to establish or maintain an office headquarters, premises, or other facilities or establishments within the jurisdiction of the United States at the behest or direction of, or with funds provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization or any of its constituent groups, any successor to any of those, or any agents thereof.

When the peace process got going in the early 1990s (backed by Israel), Congress eventually acted to provide the president the necessary authority to suspend this and other anti-Palestinian legislation, through a piece of legislation known as the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act (Public Law 104-107, Title VI).

In 1997, with Congress' enthusiasm for the peace process waning, Congress decided to let MEPFA expire. However, Congress at that time still apparently recognized the importance to U.S. national security interests of having official Palestinian interlocutors in Washington, and starting in 1997, Congress quietly began a perennial exercise of including a provision in the ForOps bill giving the president the (unconditioned, unencumbered) authority to waive, for reasons of U.S. national security interests, the piece of law cited above. That waiver has continued unchallenged since 1997 - including after the collapse of Camp David and during the post-Camp David "there is no partner for peace" era. Until now.

In the current draft of the ForOps bill, what had been a "clean" national security waiver of the anti-PLO law now is now conditioned on additional requirements being met. Specifically, in order to waive the anti-PLO language, the president must certify not only that the waiver is important to U.S. national security interests, but also that "(A) the Palestinian Authority is not attempting to establish or seek recognition at the United Nations of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians" and "(B) the Palestinian Authority is moving to halt anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority-controlled electronic and print media and in schools, mosques, and other institutions it controls, and is replacing these materials, including textbooks, with materials that promote tolerance, peace, and coexistence with Israel."

The second requirement could in all likelihood be met based on current PA efforts. However, the first requirement essentially means that if the Palestinians do not abandon their UN efforts, the U.S. will throw the PLO out of the country and bar it from nearly all activities (meaning that the U.S. will be effectively boycotting contact with the legal representative of the Palestinian people). And as drafted, the president cannot waive this new requirement, U.S. national security interests be damned.

************************************

Sec. 7035: Arab League Boycott of Israel
Perennial bill language expressing the Sense of the Congress opposing the Arab League Boycott of Israel, and articulating what Arab League states and the U.S. should be doing to end the boycott.

Sec. 7036: Palestinian Statehood
Perennial bill language stipulating that no funds appropriated in this Act may be used to support a Palestinian state unless the Secretary of State certifies the state has met a list of requirements related to fighting terror, democratic reform, and commitment to peace. As in the previous year, the President is granted the authority to waive these requirements for reasons of national security.

This section is a relic of history, reflecting a time when Congress was obsessed with the threat of Yasser Arafat unilaterally declaring a Palestinian State. The section is somewhat ironic today. Conditions in this bill on ESF (discussed above) essentially bar any aid to the PA if it is pursuing statehood (with no waiver), while this pre-existing section permits aid to a unilaterally established state if specific conditions are met or for reasons of national security. All of which is a demonstration of the extent to which the ForOps bill, when it comes to the Palestinians, is something of an exercise in piling on conditions to satisfy the latest anti-Palestinian fad in Congress.

Sec. 7037: Restrictions Concerning the Palestinian Authority
Perennial bill language stipulating that no funds appropriated in this Act may be used to create any new U.S. government office in Jerusalem to conduct business with the Palestinian Authority or any successor Palestinian governing entity. This language dates back to the early days of the Oslo process when there were concerns that governments might open embassies to Palestine in East Jerusalem (something that has not happened).

Sec. 7038: Prohibition on Assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
Perennial bill language stipulating that no funds appropriated in this Act may be used to assist the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation. Like many Palestinian-related provisions in this bill, this section dates back to the early 1990s and Congressional outrage at the time over PBC programming.

Sec. 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
This is the perennial provision setting out the extensive conditions and restrictions on, and vetting, reporting and audit requirements for, the West Bank and Gaza program (requirements that seem to expand every year).

********IMPORTANT************

Sec. 7040: Limitation on Assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
This perennial section - which has been changed this year in a very problematic way - is another example of the extent to which the ForOps bill, when it comes to the Palestinians, is something of an exercise in piling on conditions to satisfy the latest anti-Palestinian fad in Congress.

Part (a) of this perennial section - which is in addition to the new prohibition on aid to the PA included in Title III of the bill (under which no funds may be granted to the PA unless it has abandoned its UN effort, with no waiver) - bars any aid to the PA, period.

Part (b) provides the president a "clean" national security waiver of the ban. Parts (c), (d), and (e) lay out the extensive conditions the President must fulfill if he decides to use the waiver.

Part (f) of this section deals with Hamas and the PLO, and includes a very problematic change to the previous language. As written, this section stipulates that "None of the funds appropriated in titles III through VI of this Act may be obligated for salaries of personnel of the Palestinian Authority located in Gaza or may be obligated or expended for assistance to Hamas, or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member or that results from an agreement with Hamas."

That last clause is important. In effect this is Congress' way of rejecting not only a unity government that includes Hamas members, but also a technocratic government that includes no Hamas members but is acceptable to Hamas (something that most people expect to eventually come out of the power-sharing agreement and something which, under existing law, would probably not trigger existing anti-Hamas prohibitions). So in effect, with this clause Congress is telling the Palestinians: no national unity, no national reconciliation, no compromise of any kind, even if such a compromise keeps Hamas out of the government.

The subsequent paragraphs qualify that ban somewhat, permitting assistance to a power-sharing government if the President certifies that "such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, has publicly accepted and is complying with the principles contained in section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance 19 Act of 1961, as amended" - the referenced section of law essentially being the Quartet Conditions (text below). The next paragraph states the president "may exercise the authority in section 620K(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act as added by the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-446) with respect to this subsection" - the referenced text giving the president the authority to waive the ban on aid to a power-sharing government for specific purposes and only after jumping through a number of significant hoops (including certifying that doing so serves U.S. national security interests) (text below).

Finally, the last paragraph of this section reiterates the longstanding U.S. ban on any aid to the PLO (this is in addition to the changes in the waiver, described above, that would result in the PLO being kicked out of the U.S.).

For the sake of completeness, Section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance 19 Act of 1961, as amended, reads as follows:

(b) Certification.--A certification described in subsection (a) is a certification transmitted by the President to Congress that contains a determination of the President that--
(1) no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority is effectively controlled by Hamas, unless the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority has--
(A) publicly acknowledged the Jewish state of Israel's right to exist; and
(B) committed itself and is adhering to all previous agreements and understandings with the United States Government, with the Government of Israel, and with the international community, including agreements and understandings pursuant to the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (commonly referred to as the `Roadmap').

And 620K(e) reads as follows:

(e) National Security Waiver.--
(1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the President may waive subsection (a) with respect to--
(A) the administrative and personal security costs of the Office of the President of the Palestinian Authority;
(B) the activities of the President of the Palestinian Authority to fulfill his or her duties as President, including to maintain control of the management and security of border crossings, to foster the Middle East peace process, and to promote democracy and the rule of law; and
(C) assistance for the judiciary branch of the Palestinian Authority and other entities.
(2) Certification.--The President may only exercise the waiver authority under paragraph (1) after--
(A) consulting with, and submitting a written policy justification to, the appropriate congressional committees; and
(B) certifying to the appropriate congressional committees that--
(i) it is in the national security interest of the United States to provide assistance
otherwise prohibited under subsection (a); and
(ii) the individual or entity for which assistance is proposed to be provided is not a
member of, or effectively controlled by (as the case may be), Hamas or any other
foreign terrorist organization.
(3) Report.-Not later than 10 days after exercising the waiver authority under paragraph (1), the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing how the funds provided pursuant to such waiver will be spent and detailing the accounting procedures that are in place to ensure proper oversight and accountability.
(4) Treatment of certification as notification of program change.--For purposes of this subsection, the certification required under paragraph (2)(B) shall be deemed to be a notification under section 634A and shall be considered in accordance with the procedures applicable to notifications submitted pursuant to that section.

**********************

[Note: Normally at around this point in the bill there would be a provision, originally authored and continually pushed by then-Rep. Weiner (D-NY) in recent years, barring any assistance to Saudi Arabia. Given that the U.S. does not provide assistance to Saudi Arabia - the only Saudi-related funding generally being limited to a small amount for military training and counter-terrorism programs that directly serve U.S. interests - this section has always seemed pretty pointless. It remains to be seen if in Weiner's absence some brave member will courageously pick up the grandstanding gauntlet when the bill goes to full committee markup or on the House floor and once again courageously stand up and say "NO!" to an aid program to Saudi Arabia that does not, in fact, exist).

Sec. 7041: Iran Sanctions
This section replaces a somewhat similar section added to the previous ForOps bill. It sets out U.S policy as being "to seek to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise manufacture nuclear weapons, including by supporting international diplomatic efforts to halt Iran's uranium enrichment program, and the President should fully implement and enforce the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended (Public Law 104-172) as a means of encouraging foreign governments to require state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran." The section goes on to bar the use of U.S. funding to Ex-Im Bank "to provide any new financing (including loans, guarantees, other credits, insurance, and reinsurance) to any person that is subject to sanctions under paragraph (2) or (3) of section 5(a) of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-
13". The section also requires extensive reporting to Congress on the status of bilateral and multilateral sanctions efforts, current and planned.

Sec. 7042: Near East
This section includes earmarks and conditions on aid to a number of Middle East countries - in addition to conditions included previously in the bill, as follows:

---- Sec. 7042(a) EGYPT
This section states that up to $250,000,000 in ESF "may be made available for assistance for Egypt." It also notes that no funds appropriated under Title III of the bill (Bilateral Economic Assistance) may be provided to Egypt until the Secretary of State certifies that "the Government of Egypt is (A) not controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, its affiliates or supporters; (B) implementing the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty; and (C) taking steps to detect and destroy the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza strip." [Note: As with the State Department Authorization bill discussed in last week's Round-Up, it seems the drafters of this text are under the impression that the Muslim Brotherhood is a designated foreign terrorist organization. It is not]. The section goes on to bar the use of any funds in this act to "reduce, reschedule, or forgive the debt of the Government of Egypt to the United States Government unless authorized for such purposes." Finally, it notes that the ban on aid (unless the Secretary makes the required certification, "shall not apply to assistance made available for the promotion of democracy." As noted above, perennial conditions on ESF to Egypt requiring economic and democratic reforms, and sub-earmarking of ESF for democracy, human rights, governance and education programs, has been eliminated in this bill.

---- Sec. 7042(c) LEBANON
This section states that none of the funds appropriated under title IV of this Act (security assistance) may be granted to the Government of Lebanon until the Secretary of State certifies that: "(1) no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Lebanon is headed or effectively controlled by Hezbollah or any other foreign terrorist organization; (2) a comprehensive anti-terrorism vetting and tracking system exists for all Lebanese security forces personnel benefitting from United States security assistance; (3) all ministries, agencies, or instrumentalities of the Government of Lebanon and operations that directly or indirectly benefit from United States security assistance programs are financially transparent and accountable; and (4) United States security assistance and security cooperation programs for Lebanon are not utilized against the State of Israel's qualitative military edge or military balance in the region." No authority is given to the president to waive this certification requirement - which would cut of U.S. FMF to Lebanon immediately and possibly permanently - even if U.S. national security interests are at stake.

It should be noted that this certification requirement is different than the requirement for ESF to Lebanon in Title III of the bill, discussed above. Under the required ESF certification, the U.S. can provide assistance even if Hezbollah is in the government, so long as the aid is not going to any part of the government controlled by Hezbollah; under the FMF certification, if Hezbollah is in control of a single ministry or program in the Lebanese government, no FMF can be provided at all.

---- Sec. 7042(e) MIDDLE EAST PEACE
This provision states that "Funds appropriated by this Act should be made available in a manner to further peace in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians." This appears to be a completely meaningless statement which actually seems to conflict with much of the legislative intent behind the rest of the bill. Sigh.

---- Sec. 7042(f) WEST BANK AND GAZA
This provision stipulates that "the reporting requirements contained in section 1404 of Public Law 110-252 shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority." Given that, as written, the current bill in all likelihood bars all aid to the Palestinian Authority (which as of this writing appears determined to go to the UN), this relevance of this provision appears questionable.

The referenced provision of law reads:

Sec. 1404. Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a
report on assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment provided; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and a description of the assistance that has been pledged and provided to Palestinian security forces by other donors: Provided, That not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in classified form if necessary, on the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority."

---- Sec. 7042(g) YEMEN
This provision bars any funding to Yemen until the Secretary of state certifies that "(1) no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Yemen is controlled by a foreign
19 terrorist organization; (2) no member of a foreign terrorist organization serves in any policy position in a ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Yemen that is proposed to receive such assistance; (3) a comprehensive anti-terrorism vetting and tracking system exists for all Yemeni security forces personnel benefitting from United States security assistance; and
(4) all ministries, agencies, or instrumentalities of the Government of Yemen that directly or indirectly benefit from United States security assistance are financially transparent and accountable."

Sec. 7051(b): United Nations Human Rights Council
This provision states that "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of State for voluntary contributions or payment of United States assessments in support of the United Nations Human Rights Council." In the past this section included language permitting such funding if the Secretary of State certified that such support was in the U.S. national interest or if the U.S. is a member of the Council, but those exceptions have been removed. While the section does not mention Israel, Congressional outrage against the UN Human Rights Council has focused on the Council's perceived ill-treatment of Israel.

Sec. 7051(c): United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
This section, added in the last ForOps bill, bars aid to UNRWA until the Secretary of State certifies that UNRWA is:

(1) utilizing Operations Support Officers in the West Bank and Gaza to inspect UNRWA installations and report any inappropriate use;
(2) acting promptly to address any staff or beneficiary violation of its own policies (including the policies on neutrality and impartiality of employees) and the legal requirements under section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961;
(3) taking necessary and appropriate measures to ensure it is operating in compliance with the conditions of section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and continuing regular reporting to the on actions it has taken to ensure conformance with such conditions;
(4) taking steps to improve the transparency of all educational materials currently in use in UNRWA-administered schools;
(6) using curriculum materials in UNRWA-supported schools and summer camps designed to promote tolerance, non-violent conflict resolution and human rights;
(7) not engaging in operations with financial institutions or related entities in violation of relevant United States law and is enhancing its transparency and financial due diligence and working to diversify its banking operations in the region; and
(8) in compliance with the United Nations Board of Auditors' biennial audit requirements and is implementing in a timely fashion the Board's recommendations.

Sec. 7056: Landmines and Cluster munitions
This section states that notwithstanding any other provision of law, demining equipment available to USAID and the Department of State and used in support of the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance for humanitarian purposes may be disposed of on a grant basis in foreign countries, subject to such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe. It also stipulates that "no military assistance shall be furnished for cluster munitions, no defense export license for cluster munitions may be issued, and no cluster munitions or cluster munitions technology shall be sold or transferred" unless "the submunitions of the cluster munitions, after arming, do not result in more than 1 percent unexploded ordnance across the range of intended operational environments" and "the agreement applicable to the assistance, transfer, or sale of the cluster munitions or cluster munitions technology specifies that the cluster munitions will only be used against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present or in areas normally inhabited by civilians." While not explicitly connected to Israel, Congressional concerns over cluster munitions (and the horrors of unexploded ordinance in civilian area) picked up after the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, in which Israel employed cluster munitions in populated areas (and left behind a great deal of unexploded ordnance that remains a problem today).

Sec. 7064: Reconciliation Programs
This perennial provision earmarks $26 million (out of ESF and Development Assistance funds) "to support people to people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war, of which not less than $10,000,000 shall be made available for such programs in the Middle East."

Sec. 7066: Requests for Documents
This perennial provision bars aid to NGOs that fail "to provide upon timely request any document, file, or record necessary to the auditing requirements of the United States Agency for International Development." While this is a generic requirement applying to all NGOs receiving US funds, Congressional demands for audits of NGOs working with USAID have been especially focused on the West Bank and Gaza.

Sec. 7072: Commercial Leasing of Defense Articles
This perennial provision permits financing to be provided to Israel, Egypt and NATO and major non-NATO allies for the procurement by leasing (including leasing with an option to purchase) of defense articles from United States commercial suppliers, if the President determines that there are compelling foreign policy or national security reasons for those defense articles being provided by commercial lease rather than by government-to-government sale.

- Sec. 7073: Independent States of the Former Soviet Union.
This provision (among other things) directs that 60% of U.S. assistance for the Government of the Russian Federation be withheld until the President certifies that, among other things, Russian government has "terminated implementation of arrangements to provide Iran with technical expertise, training, technology, or equipment necessary to develop a nuclear reactor, related nuclear research facilities or programs, or ballistic missile capability..."

3. State Department Authorization Bill - more on the markup

Last week's Round-Up included details of Middle East-related amendment to the FY12 State Department Authorization bill (HR 2583) offered during the two-day marathon markup of the bill in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. At the end of the markup the bill was passed on a party-line vote.

Full details of all amendments offered, including text of amendments and roll call votes, are available here. This includes a number of Mideast-related amendments that were not covered in last week's Round-Up (because after almost two full days of listening to the markup the drafter of the Round-Up had to step away from the computer to do other things).

All Mideast-related amendments are summarized below, with links where text/vote details are available. Also, POMED has prepared a comprehensive report on the bill/markup (including details of the discussion surrounding the Mideast-related amendments, where there was discussion), available here.

Berman-Cicilline amendment #622, agreed to by Roll Call vote of 43 ayes to 1 no, as amended (Sense of Congress relating to discrimination against Christians in Turkey).

Schwartz amendment #7 (To strike Sec. 407, which prohibits U.S. economic or development assistance to countries that fail the MCC's corruption performance indicator); not agreed to by Roll Call vote of 13 ayes - 23 noes.

Duncan amendment #19, agreed to by Roll Call vote of 21 ayes - 18 noes, as amended by his own 2nd degree amendment (agreed to by UC) (Prohibiting U.S. assistance to foreign governments that vote against the U.S. at the UN more than 50% of the time; provides the President authority to waive the restriction for the sake of U.S. national security interests).

Schwartz amendment #5, agreed to by voice vote (To expand reporting requirements regarding Israel to include reporting on measure taken by the U.S. to "counter multilateral efforts to isolate Israel").

Rep. Fortenberry offered amendments en bloc, agreed to by voice vote. The bloc included Fortenberry #76 (a Sense of Congress urging strengthened public diplomacy efforts, and in particular aimed at audiences in Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, and Russia.)

Berman amendment #32, agreed to by voice vote (To prohibit U.S. citizens from complying with boycotts fostered or imposed by a foreign government against a country that is friendly to the United States). [As noted in last week's Round-Up, this provision is consistent with longstanding U.S. law which, because it has expired, is currently imposed via executive order].

Engel amendment #46, agreed to by Roll Call vote of 44 ayes - 0 noes (To prohibit aid to the Palestinian Authority unless the President certifies that the Palestinians "have not unilaterally declared independence in 2011 or thereafter, are engaged in peace negotiations with the State of Israel, and are not pursuing recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations." The amendment gives the President the authority to waive the restriction for reasons of U.S. national security interests.) This amendment is in addition to the prohibition on aid to the PA already included in the base bill. Just to remind people, that language bars any assistance to the PA unless the President certifies that "no member of Hamas or any other foreign terrorist organization serves in any policy position in a ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority" [NOTE: This is a change from the earlier base text of the bill, which required certification that no member of Hamas or an FTO was employed anywhere by the PA, including, say, a janitor]; the PA is meeting a range of reform and transparency requirements; and the PA "has and continues to publicly acknowledge Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state." This prohibition can only be waived if he certifies that "(1) it is in the vital national security interests of the United States to do so"; (2) the U.S. "the United States is fully implementing and enforcing existing end-use monitoring mechanisms;" and "(3) has established and implemented comprehensive procedures to vet all recipients of United States security assistance to ensure that no recipients are members of, or affiliated with, a foreign terrorist organization."

Smith amendment #55, agreed to by voice vote (regarding the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt).

Duncan amendment #15 (Requiring designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization); withdrawn (with commitment from the Chair to ask for a classified briefing from the Administration on the subject, and leaving open the likelihood that the amendment will be brought up again in full committee markup or on the House floor).

Duncan amendment #20, agreed to by voice vote (barring aid to the Muslim Brotherhood.) [It is worth noting that the U.S. does not provide assistance to political parties or organizations].

Berman amendments #37 and #38, offered en bloc (regarding promotion of the private sector in Egypt, Tunisia, and Pakistan); withdrawn (pending further discussion in the Committee of the proposal).

Berman amendment #31 (To insert the Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act), not agreed to by a Roll Call vote of 22 ayes - 22 noes.

Schwartz amendment #6, agreed to by voice vote (To expand required reporting on Egypt to include reporting on Egyptian efforts to "adopt and implement legal AND POLITICAL reforms that protect the religious and democratic freedoms of all citizens and residents of Egypt" - with capital letters indicating the words she inserted with this amendment).

Berman amendment #48, agreed to by voice vote (adding a new section to the bill entitled "Nuclear Nonproliferation" - including prohibitions on U.S. assistance to any country that withdraws from the NPT or any country that repeatedly provides support for acts of proliferation, and make it U.S. policy to take into account whether countries that are party to the NPT have in force an Additional Protocol to its safeguards with the IAEA in making decisions about foreign assistance.)

Ros-Lehtinen en bloc amendment, agreed to by voice vote. Amendments are offered en bloc when they are considered so non-controversial that neither side feels the need to address the amendments individually. This bloc of apparently non-controversial amendments included:

Chabot amendment #7 (A statement of policy regarding human rights abuses by the Government of Syria);

Chabot amendment #71 (regarding pending claims against the Government of Saudi Arabia);

Deutch amendment #31 (urging the Quartet to make the immediate and unconditional release of Gilad Shalit an additional condition on Hamas);

Sherman amendment #39 (requiring the Secretary of State to issue guidelines clarifying the "sensitive technologies" that U.S. law bans U.S. persons and companies providing to Iran);

Carnahan amendment #28 (nothing to do with the Middle East, but winning the award for adding a new section to the bill with the funniest name: "Female Exchange Program");

Engel amendment #47, agreed to by voice vote. (Adding a new section to the bill entitled "Limitation on Assistance to the Palestinian Authority.") This section bars any aid to the PA unless the President certifies - in addition to all the other things he has to certify to overcome other prohibitions in this bill and in other pieces of legislation barring aid to the PA - that the PA "is not engaging in a pattern of incitement against Israel" and "is engaged in peace preparation activities, that is, activities aimed at promoting peace with the Jewish state of Israel."

Engel's amendment defines "peace preparation activities" as requiring from the PA, among other things, "Public acknowledgements of the State of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state" and "Firm public commitments to and endorsements of peaceful co-existence with the Jewish State of Israel" (once again seeking to legislate Prime Minister Netanyahu's precondition on the Palestinians). It also requires that maps "show the State of Israel existing as 'Israel' side-by-side with 'Palestine'" - though it does not clarify where an acceptable border between the two should be drawn, given Congress' apparent allergy to the 1967 lines (even with land swaps). One wonders if Congress would protest if the Palestinians failed to show settlement blocs on a map as being part of Israel, or would scream bloody murder if a Palestinian map showed any claim to East Jerusalem. The section gives the president the authority to waive the prohibition if it is important to the national security interests of the United States.

Note: The markup of this bill was extremely ugly. Ranking member Berman colorfully, and accurately, described it as a "series of tantrums" and a "waste of time" (the full interview in the Cable is well worth the read). However, to give credit where it is due, in the past (under both Democratic and Republican Congresses) text of amendments and information about votes on amendments to this bill were virtually impossible to obtain unless one was actually in the hearing room at the time the amendment was being considered. This year's effort at real-time transparency (amendments were posted online by both sides more or less as they were introduced, and all amendments and voting information were posted shortly after the markup ended) sets a new standard that hopefully will spread to other committees and continue in the future.

4. State Department Authorization Bill (Senate) - details to follow

On 7/27/11 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Senate version of the FY12 State Department Authorization bill. The Committee's summary of the bill is available here. Analysis of the details of that bill will be included in next week's Round-Up.

The Cable's Josh Rogin offers early reporting on the massive and virtually assuredly unbridgeable chasm between the House version of the bill and the Senate version here (he describes the Kerry version as "a direct rebuttal to the legislation approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) last week...").

5. HFAC/MESA Subcommittee Hold Hearing on Syria and Iran

On 7/27/11 the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing entitled "Axis of Abuse: U.S. Human Rights Policy toward Iran and Syria, Part 1." Witnesses were Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Jeff Feltman and Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Michael Posner. Their joint written statement to the committee can be read here. The opening statement of MESA subcommittee Chairman Chabot is available here. The opening statement of Ranking Member Ackerman is available here. Reporting on the hearing from the LA Times can be found here.

6. Odds and Ends

Haaretz 7/28/11: Middle East drama on Capitol Hill
National Journal 7/28/11: Lieberman: Weprin's A Kosher Candidate
Politico 7/27/11: Clinton tries to stop House aid bill
New York Times 7/27/11: Weiner's Exit Sets Off a Race to Be Israel's Better Friend
CNN 7/27/11: Clinton pushes back on proposed bill to curb State Dept. operations
Media Matters 7/26/11: Glenn Beck Seeks Congressional Support For His Israel Rally
The Cable 7/26/11: Russia threatens to wreck the reset (threatens to end cooperation on Iran if Congress passes HR 1575/S 1039)
CBS News - New York 7/25/11: Former Mayor Ed Koch Rips President Obama's Israel Policy; Endorses Republican To Send Message
Ahram Online (Egypt) 7/25/11: US Congress mulls tough conditions on security aid to Egypt, Lebanon and PA
JTA 7/24/11: Redistricting reform could redraw political map for Jews in Congress
Al Arabiyya 7/24/11: Muna Shikaki: Cutting State Department's budget: An Interesting Exercise in Futility

Also:
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) 7/26/11 issued a press release reporting that "The following report documents the Palestinian Authority's use of American funding to pay salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons and glorification of terrorists by the PA. It was presented yesterday by PMW director Itamar Marcus to members of Congress at a meeting in the Republican Israel" [Note: Given that no members are named and no members commented on the report, it is not clear any members actually attended the presentation).

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Past editions of the Round-Up are archived and available online at:
http://peacenow.org/legislative-round-ups