One Step Closer to the Partnership for Peace Fund
Earlier this summer the US House passed the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, which would establish a $250 million fund to support Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilders. We are excited to share that the Senate State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOP) has also included funding for the Peace Act in its draft appropriations bill. The Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) deserves a great deal of credit, having spent years lobbying to build bipartisan support for this funding.
The SFOP did include one stipulation, which is that the fund be renamed the Nita M. Lowey Partnership for Peace Fund. Congresswoman Lowey has been a long-time advocate for our Israeli and Palestinian partners, and she did not seek re-election this year. This gesture by the SFOP and its Chairman, Senator Lindsey Graham, is a testament to her commitment that this fund will hopefully be named in her honor.
There is a story in the Talmud about a man named Honi the Circle Drawer. Walking in the woods one day, Honi sees an old man planting seeds. Honi asks the man why he is planting trees that he will never be able to enjoy, and the man replies that he is planting for future generations just as his ancestors planted trees for him. As Honi is thinking about this he falls asleep for 70 years, waking only to find someone picking fruit from the trees. When Honi approaches, he learns that the man picking fruit is the grandson of the man who was planting the trees 70 years before. And, while enjoying the fresh fruit, this man is also planting trees for his descendants.
We can all find these trees to plant—projects to invest in that we never see come to fruition. Many people can find sustenance from a single tree, and thanks to people like Congresswoman Lowey, there will be a forest where thousands of Israelis and Palestinians can work together to create a better reality for themselves and for the future. While the work is not finished yet, we are one step closer to the realization of the funding necessary to support trust, mutual recognition, and peace.