Grappling for a way to assist Israel, lawmakers will consider legislation that would require the State Department to offer as much as $5 million for information on the kidnapping and murder of a U.S.-Israeli dual citizen, whose killing along with two other boys has sparked days of relentless fighting between Israel and Hamas.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will debate and mark up the bill on Wednesday. A companion bill in the House had not yet been put on the House Foreign Affairs Committee calendar.
“The Israeli government’s recent action against Hamas is a just and appropriate mission to both bring the terrorists responsible to justice and to degrade their capability to launch further attacks,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, the lead sponsor of the Senate bill.
“Given [Naftali Fraenkel’s] citizenship, I believe the United States should demonstrate our clear support for Israel by offering a reward as we traditionally have in terrorist attacks involving Americans,” Cruz added. “This support should be understood in the context of our partnership with the nation of Israel in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, which is our fight as well.”
The U.S. has offered cash rewards for intelligence on international terrorist activity through the Rewards for Justice program in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the State Department since 1984. More than $125 million has been paid to roughly 80 people who provided actionable information that led to the arrest of suspected terrorists or the prevention of terrorist activity.
Traditionally, the decision to recommend to the secretary of State that a reward be offered is left up to the federal agencies involved in a terrorism case, although Congress has weighed in on previous incentives, such as when the Senate voted in 2007 to double the reward for Osama bin Laden.
This case is distinct in that the United States is looking to assist another country as it searches for more information about the kidnapping of three teenagers — Fraenkel as well as Israelis Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah.
“The fact that one of the three boys was American is significant,” said Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, the primary sponsor of the House bill. “It’s important that America show resolve and bring to justice those who kill Americans abroad.”
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."