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Rep. McCollum to introduce bill that would bar U.S. aid from subsidizing Israeli occupation

Washington (QNN)- US Congresswoman Betty McCollum is now planning to introduce a legislation on Thursday 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.

“There is nothing out of the ordinary about conditioning aid. … All taxpayer funds provided by Congress to foreign governments in the form of aid are subject to conditions in a myriad of generally applicable laws, yet the $3.8 billion provided to Israel by the State Department has no country-specific conditions despite Israel’s systemic violations of Palestinian human rights,” McCollum told The Intercept.

“I don’t want $1 of U.S. aid to Israel paying for the military detention and abuse of Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the annexation of Palestinian land,” she added.

The Intercept stated that McCollum’s bill is the result of years of work by Palestinian rights activists to cut or condition aid to Israel.

The Intercept also said that these calls have been fueled by reports of U.S.-made weapons being used to kill Palestinian civilians, whether with Hellfire missiles fired by Israeli fighter jets on homes in Gaza or with U.S.-made rifles used to gun down Palestinian protesters.

Human rights organizations have documented the Israeli military’s repeated use of bulldozers produced by the Illinois-based Caterpillar company to demolish Palestinian homes.

The legislation has been endorsed by more than 20 groups, including mainstays in the Palestinian rights movement like the Adalah Justice Project and Jewish Voice for Peace Action, as well as the liberal pro-Israel group Americans for Peace Now and the progressive Justice Democrats, which focuses on launching primaries against establishment Democrats., according to the Intercept.

Fifty-three percent of Democratic voters told Gallup this year that they support increasing pressure on Israel — an increase of 10 points since 2018 — yet most Democrats in the House and Senate do not support conditioning aid, and the bill faces steep odds of even getting a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs and Appropriations committees.

However, the Intercept said, “Still, it’s the most significant effort yet by progressive Democrats to broach what was once an unthinkable red line: changing the nature of U.S. military aid to Israel so that U.S. aid is banned from furthering Israeli human rights abuses. It’s a remarkable development in an institution long thought to be a permanent stronghold for the pro-Israel lobby.”

“The movement in Congress is unprecedented,” said Raed Jarrar, a Palestinian American analyst and the former advocacy director for American Muslims for Palestine.

“I never dreamed that we would have bills banning the U.S. government from funding Israeli activities that are in violation of U.S. law or international law.”

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