Israel might be forced to hand back millions of dollars in aid it received from the United States if Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has his way.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, Tillerson is leading the effort within the administration to strong-arm Israel into returning $75 million it received from Congress in 2016, citing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) issued by the Obama administration for instituting a limit on the amount of financial aid the U.S. can give to Israel. The prior administration issued the MOU to limit Israel's lobbying efforts toward Congress.
Congress took umbrage to the MOU since it undermined the legislative body's ability to allocate funds, so they appropriated an extra $75 million in financial aid to Israel, but now Tillerson wants that money returned.
A anonymous congressional advisor told the Free Beacon that the State Department's efforts to uphold the MOU are "a transparent attempt by career staffers in the State Department to f—k with the Israelis and derail the efforts of Congressional Republicans and President Trump to rebuild the U.S.-Israel relationship."
"There's no reason to push for the Israelis to return the money, unless you're trying to drive a wedge between Israel and Congress, which is exactly what this is," the advisor said. "It won't work."
The Free Beacon cited sources stating that "Congress is prepared to strongly react" should the White House approve of the State Department's request to demand that Israel return the $75 million.
This is unfortunately par for the course for Tillerson, who was among the people advising President Trump against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and whose State Department won't recognize Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem and blames Israel for Palestinian terrorism. His John Kerry-esque approach to Israel is steering the Trump administration in the wrong direction on a crucial ally in the Middle East who is the U.S.' first line of defense against Islamic terrorists in the region.
Should the Trump administration actually demand that Israel return the $75 million, it would be an example of terrible, awful Trump.