Support for Palestinian state hidden in US budget bill passed by Senate

Pro-Israel politicians and groups are protesting a bill that was praised by Bennett and Gantz for including Iron Dome funding.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Right-wing politicians and groups are protesting an American bill awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature that hides support for a Palestinian state among various allocations of monies that include substantial aid to Israel.

The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill that passed both houses of Congress last week was lauded by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz for including $1 billion to resupply the Iron Dome system that protects Israelis from Hamas and Hezbollah rocket attacks.

However, it also contains official support for the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021 (IRNA) that was passed as a separate piece of legislation last year.

The main purpose of the Act was to encourage other Arab countries to join the Abraham Accords and open diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. But the Act also states that the United States should “continue to support a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish state of Israel and a viable democratic Palestinian state—living side by side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.”

Both Bennett and Gantz have openly stated that they oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state. They have not commented publicly on this part of the spending bill.

Likud backbencher Keti Sheetrit slammed the leadership’s silence.

“The new legislation in the Senate is a huge failure of [Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett,” the MK said.

“If, God forbid, legislators from the extreme left in the United States promote the idea of ​​a Palestinian state, without Bennett explaining to them the seriousness of the act, it will be recorded in the name of the [political] right….

“The right-wing faction must learn to act like [Islamist party] Ra’am and stand by their principles. Judea and Samaria protect the state in body and soul.”

Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI) expressed disappointment over “the reinstatement of the implausible, unworkable two-state (dis)solution. Not only does Israel have the legal, historical, and biblical right to the entire State, but creating a State within Israel for the corrupt and irresponsible PA is an idea whose time has certainly passed and would only invite more terror into the Land.”

“We hope that the Israeli government stands strong on this.  It is an existential matter that cannot be put aside,” AFSI stated.

Veteran “peace-for-peace” NGO Mattot Arim called the establishment of a Palestinian state “an absolute red line” Tuesday, urging the American legislators to remove “this cyanide” immediately from the bill.

The NGO lauded Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for trying to oppose the bill in order to protect Israel.

“Cruz was the only Republican senator with eyes sharp enough to catch this trick, memory acute enough to notice that it negates the Republican platform, and enough courage to do something about it, holding up the bill for months, although eventually the Democrats prevailed,” the group said.

“We must not allow a situation where dealing with the events in the Ukraine will blind our eyes to the warning lights that are flashing in Washington, ehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar of the Women in Green sovereignty movement stated Monday.

“It is incumbent upon the Prime Minister and the ministers of the Right to resolutely support the political opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state, as the Prime Minister himself expressed in his meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden,” they said.

Habithonistim – Israel’s Defense and Security Forum of former IDF commanders and fighters from all of Israel’s security services had criticized the IRNA’s linkage between the Abraham Accords and the desire for establishing a Palestinian state as “a blow to Israeli interests,” since such a state “would be an existential threat to both Israel and Jordan.”