Senate Passes Foreign Aid Bill with $3 Billion to Israel Intact

The Senate has passed a $13.6 billion foreign aid package that includes $3 billion in aid to Israel and $78 million to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

The House of Representatives passed a similar bill earlier this year.

House and Senate negotiators will meet later in the summer to hammer out differences between the versions.

The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, which passed 84-9 last Friday, also included numerous amendments relating to Israel and the peace process.

An amendment authored by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) prohibits the United States from sending any aid to the Palestinians until the Palestine Liberation Organization amends the parts of its covenant calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

The Specter amendment also prevents the president from certifying PLO compliance with the peace accords without congressional oversight.

Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) sponsored an amendment that prevents American diplomats from meeting with members of the Palestinian authority anywhere in Jerusalem.

The bill also prohibits the U.S. Agency for International Development from opening any new offices in Jerusalem to dispense aid to Gaza or Jericho.

The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Hank Brown (R-Colo.).

In a non-binding amendment expressing the sense of the Senate, the Senate also voted to urge the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund not to give money to any countries that comply with the Arab boycott of Israel.

All three measures passed unanimously.

Like the House bill, the Senate also included $2.1 billion in aid to Egypt and an additional $80 million to assist Israel in resettling refugees from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

It also provides for $7 million for Middle East regional co-operative ventures between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

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