The US administration is trying, through its proposal submitted to Congress within the budget of 2021, to persuade lawmakers to fund the new peace plan announced by President Donald Trump on January 28 at the White House.
Within the budget, the administration proposes to link security aid to the Palestinians with the approval of the Congress of an amount of $200 million to finance the peace plan, to be set up in the so-called “diplomatic progress fund.”
Instead of directly funding the Palestinian security forces, the budget allocates $25 million to the diplomatic progress fund as security assistance to the Palestinians.
According to the draft-budget, security assistance can be used “to support sensitive diplomatic efforts that may be launched in the future, such as talks related to a plan for peace in the Middle East.”
Last year, Congress rejected the State Department’s request for an amount of $175 million to be earmarked to the diplomatic progress fund within the 2020 budget.
Lawmakers chose instead to lift the freeze on US aid to the Palestinians, which amounted to $150 million, including $75 million in security assistance to the Palestinians.
According to the new budget that Congress officially received on Monday, even if lawmakers change their decision this year and agree to fund the Century Deal, the State Department does not intend to use the $25 million entirely in the West Bank and Gaza, but rather will use it as well for what it described as the political transition in Venezuela.