WASHINGTON (BP)–Resolutions passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives May 2 registered solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism.
The resolutions are non-binding but were nevertheless strong expressions of support for Israel in its countermeasures against the Palestinian Authority for a wave of suicide bombings in recent months.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D.-Conn., was the chief sponsor of the Senate resolution. Reps. Tom DeLay, R.-Texas, and Tom Lantos, D.-Calif., were the chief sponsors in the House.
“Those suicide bombers striking innocent Israelis in supermarkets, buses and public squares,” Lieberman told the Senate, “are cut from the same cloth of evil as the terrorists who turn airplanes into weapons and struck the United States on Sept. 11.”
The two resolutions were, for the most part, similar; notably, however, the House resolution attacked Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat by name in connection with the suicide bombings.
The Senate resolution passed on a 94-2 vote; the House resolution, 352-21, with 29 other members voting only “present.”
The resolutions were passed on the same day Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that an international peace conference on the Middle East this summer will be jointly sponsored by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. On May 7, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to meet with President Bush at the White House.
The text of the Senate resolution states:
WHEREAS the United States and Israel are now engaged in a common struggle against terrorism and are on the frontlines of a conflict thrust upon them against their will;
WHEREAS President George W. Bush declared on Nov. 21, 2001: “We fight the terrorists and we fight all of those who give them aid. America has a message for the nations of the world: If you harbor terrorists, you are terrorists. If you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you are a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends”; and,
WHEREAS the United States has committed to provide resources to states on the frontline in the war against terrorism:
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Senate:
1. stands in solidarity with Israel, a frontline state in the war against terrorism, as it takes necessary steps to provide security to its people by dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas;
2. remains committed to Israel’s right to self-defense;
3. will continue to assist Israel in strengthening its homeland defenses;
4. condemns Palestinian suicide bombings;
5. demands that the Palestinian Authority fulfill its commitment to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas;
6. urges all Arab states, particularly the United States’ allies, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to declare their unqualified opposition to all forms of terrorism, particularly suicide bombing, and to act in concert with the United States to stop the violence; and
7. urges all parties in the region to pursue vigorously efforts to establish a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
The text of the House resolution states:
WHEREAS the United States and Israel are now engaged in a common struggle against terrorism and are on the front-lines of a conflict thrust upon them against their will;
WHEREAS hundreds of innocent Israelis and Palestinians have died tragically in violence since September 2000;
WHEREAS Palestinian organizations are engaging in an organized, systematic and deliberate campaign of terror aimed at inflicting as many casualties as possible on the Israeli population, including through the use of suicide terrorist attacks;
WHEREAS the number of Israelis killed during that time by suicide terrorist attacks alone, on a basis proportional to the United States population, is approximately 9,000, three times the number killed in the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001;
WHEREAS Yasir Arafat and members of the Palestinian leadership have failed to abide by their commitments to nonviolence made in the Israel-P.L.O. Declaration of Principles (the “Oslo accord”) of September 1993, including their pledges (1) to adhere strictly to “a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” (2) to resolve “all outstanding issues relating to permanent status through negotiations,” (3) to renounce “the use of terrorism and other acts of violence” and (4) to “assume responsibility over all P.L.O. elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance [with the commitment to nonviolence], prevent violence and discipline violators”;
WHEREAS the continued terrorism and incitement committed and supported by official arms of the Palestinian Authority are a direct violation of these commitments;
WHEREAS the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which is part of Arafat’s Fatah organization and has been designated a “foreign terrorist organization” by the United States government, and other Fatah forces have murdered scores of innocent Israelis;
WHEREAS forces under Yasir Arafat’s direct control were involved in the Palestinian Authority’s thwarted attempt to obtain 50 tons of offensive weapons shipped from Iran in the Karine-A, an effort that irrefutably proved Arafat’s embrace of the use and escalation of violence;
WHEREAS the Israeli government has documents found in the offices of the Palestinian Authority that demonstrate the crucial financial support the Palestinian Authority continues to provide for terrorist acts, including suicide bombers;
WHEREAS the recent escalation of Palestinian attacks, killing 46 Israelis during the week of Passover, included a heinous suicide-bombing at a religious ceremony which killed 27 and wounded more than a hundred, many critically, and was perpetrated by a known terrorist whom Israel had previously asked Yasir Arafat to arrest;
WHEREAS this suicide attack occurred at the very time United States envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni was attempting to negotiate a cease-fire that would lead to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinians political negotiations;
WHEREAS, just before the Passover attack, Israel had agreed to General Zinni’s cease-fire proposals, whereas Yasir Arafat rejected them;
WHEREAS Yasir Arafat continues to incite terror by, for example, saying of the Passover suicide bomber, “Oh God, give me a martyrdom like this”;
WHEREAS Yasir Arafat and the P.L.O. have a long history of making and breaking antiterrorism pledges;
WHEREAS President George W. Bush declared at a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001, that “from this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime”;
WHEREAS President Bush recently stated that he “fully understands Israel’s need to defend herself” and that he “respect[s]” the fact that Israelis have “seen a wave of suicide bombers coming to the heart of their cities and killing innocent people”;
WHEREAS President Bush, in his speech of April 4, 2002, stated that “the situation in which he [Arafat] finds himself today is largely of his own making”; that Arafat “missed his opportunities, and thereby betrayed the hopes of the people he’s supposed to lead”; and that, “given his [Arafat’s] failure, the Israeli government feels it must strike at terrorist networks that are killing its citizens”;
WHEREAS Israel’s military operations are an effort to defend itself against the unspeakable horrors of ongoing terrorism and are aimed only at dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas, an obligation Arafat himself undertook but failed to carry out; and
WHEREAS the process of Israeli withdrawal is nearly complete:
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the House of Representatives:
1. stands in solidarity with Israel as it takes necessary steps to provide security to its people by dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas;
2. remains committed to Israel’s right to self-defense and supports additional United States assistance to help Israel defend itself;
3. condemns the recent wave of Palestinian suicide bombings;
4. condemns the ongoing support of terror by Yasir Arafat and other members of the Palestinian leadership;
5. demands that the Palestinian Authority at last fulfill its commitment to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas, including any such infrastructure associated with P.L.O. and Palestinian Authority entities tied directly to Yasir Arafat;
6. is gravely concerned that Arafat’s actions are not those of a viable partner for peace;
7. urges all Arab states to declare their unqualified opposition to all forms of terrorism, including suicide bombing;
8. commends the president for his leadership in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly the efforts of the administration to engage countries throughout the region to condemn and prevent terrorism and to prevent a widening of the conflict;
9. urges all parties in the region to pursue vigorously efforts to establish a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East; and
10. encourages the international community to take action to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.