Churches for Middle East Peace

Rep. Betty McCollum Leads Effort to Block Israel From Using U.S. Aid to Destroy Palestinian Homes

A look at continuing diplomacy between new administration and foreign nations, sanctions and consequences, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Palestinians react as Israeli authorities prepare to demolish a house located in a village south of the West Bank town of Hebron on March 2, 2021. (Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images)

McCollum US aid to Palestine

Image: Palestinians react as Israeli authorities prepare to demolish a house located in a village south of the West Bank town of Hebron on March 2, 2021. (Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Betty McCollum leads effort to block Israel from using U.S. aid to destroy Palestinian homes
The Intercept

“Since 2015, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., has been the leading congressional critic of Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children, introducing multiple pieces of legislation that would bar Israel from using U.S. military aid to arrest Palestinian youth. By targeting Israel’s detention of Palestinian children — just one aspect of Israel’s military occupation, but one that involved a highly vulnerable population — McCollum was attempting to make her bills appeal to the widest swath of Democrats possible. For most others in her party, the check the U.S. wrote to Israel every year was not up for debate. McCollum is now planning to introduce legislation on Thursday (April 15) that would bar U.S. aid from subsidizing a wider array of Israeli occupation tactics, an indication of just how far the debate over U.S. aid to Israel has come in the past six years.”

Ask Your House Member to Cosponsor HR 2590 and read CMEP's statement in response to Rep. McCollum's new legislation.

Biden endorses two-state solution

Image: Then-US vice president Joe Biden, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, at the presidential compound in Ramallah, West Bank, March 9, 2016. (Debbie Hill, Pool via AP)

After restoring aid to Palestinians, Biden endorses two-state solution
Times of Israel

“US President Joe Biden on Wednesday (April 7) promised to press for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he restored aid to the Palestinians. In a call with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a longstanding US ally who recently faced down dissent within the royal family, Biden 'affirmed that the United States supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,’ a White House statement said. Biden has long vowed to return the two-state idea to the center of US policy following the dramatic shifts under former president Donald Trump."

Har Homa settlement

Image: This photo from February 15, 2017, shows the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

In 1st since Biden inauguration, Israel advances 540 new East Jerusalem homes
Times of Israel

“An Israeli planning commission advanced 540 new units in a controversial East Jerusalem neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, in the first Jewish construction in the city’s majority-Palestinian eastern part since the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. The new housing was approved in Har Homa, a neighborhood near the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher and the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The area — known as Har Homa East — would greatly extend the boundaries of the Jewish neighborhood. Construction in Har Homa East has been long-promised but long-delayed. The most recent push to build more units in Har Homa began in last February, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on the eve of March 2020 elections that he had lifted restrictions on construction there, sparking controversy."

What's Happening at CMEP

Public Statement: CMEP Endorses New Legislation on Palestinian Rights:

HR 2590 would ensure no U.S. funds to Israel are used to detain or mistreat Palestinian children; seize and demolish Palestinian homes and structures in the West Bank; or facilitate the unilateral annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank by the Israeli government.


Take Action: Ask Your House Member to Cosponsor HR 2590:

Congress must make clear that the United States will not provide financial support to the ongoing violation of Palestinian rights. HR 2590 is a necessary start in helping to ensure the United States can be an honest partner for peace to both the Israeli and Palestinian people.

CMEP1835 Spring Advocacy Training:

This event aims to empower people ages 18 to 35 to make their voices heard on important issues. Participants will learn how to advocate with Congressional members on behalf of peace and justice in the Middle East. If you work with this age group or are a member yourself, please join us on Wednesday, May 26, 7-8pm Eastern.


Next week is National Volunteer Week! Volunteers are vital to CMEP's work. Please contact for more information.

Israel and Iran nuclear site

Image: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran in February. “We will take our revenge from the Zionists,” he said in a statement carried by Iranian state TV on Monday (April 12). (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

Blaming Israel, Iran vows revenge for blackout at nuclear site
New York Times

“The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, vowed revenge against Israel on Monday morning (April 12), a day after a blackout at an Iranian nuclear enrichment site was attributed to an Israeli attack. Mr. Zarif’s comments highlight the risk of escalation in a years-long shadow war between Iran and Israel. They also threaten to overshadow efforts in Vienna to encourage Iran to reimpose limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of American sanctions. In a statement broadcast by Iranian state television, Mr. Zarif was quoted as saying: ‘The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.’”

vaccinated groups to be allowed into Israel

Image: A Birthright culinary tour eats hummus in Tel Aviv, in 2012. (Tomer Appelbaum)

Vaccinated foreign tour groups to be allowed into Israel in May

“Israel will begin allowing vaccinated tourists into the country starting on May 23, but only in organized groups, Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said on Tuesday (April 13). Since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March 2020, only Israeli citizens, alongside rare exceptions for non-citizens, have been allowed into the country. Farkash-Hacohen said that within 72 hours of boarding their flights to Israel, all tourists would be required to undergo coronavirus tests and an antibody test to prove they were vaccinated or recovered, and then be tested again upon landing. In the first stage, the number of tourists allowed into the country each day will be capped."

Biden to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

Image: U.S. Army soldiers return home from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan on Dec. 10, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Biden to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11

“President Joe Biden plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, missing the May 1 deadline he inherited from the Trump administration, according to two congressional aides and a senior administration official briefed on the plans. The decision, which Biden is expected to announce this week, will likely prompt the Taliban to renew attacks on the roughly 3,500 American troops there, which have largely halted since the February 2020 agreement between the Trump administration and Taliban officials.”

CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 311 | Washington, District of Columbia  20002
(202) 543-1222 |

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