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House Legislation

House Legislation

H. CON. RES. 24

March 16, 1999

Unfortunately, I believe that this resolution sends a dangerous message to all those working and sacrificing for peace in the Middle East. This is, in the end, a politically motivated resolution that comes at a very sensitive time in the peace process and Israeli elections. As already has been pointed out, what this resolution really aims to do is send a message to Clinton and Arafat in advance of their meeting next week and the upcoming Israeli elections. Its passage will undoubtedly send the WRONG message to those Israelis and Palestinians who genuinely desire peace.

Instead of sending a destructive message, it would be far more beneficial to send a message to Israelis and Palestinians and to the entire international community that the United States is committed to remaining an even-handed peace broker in the Middle East; that we will recognize efforts by BOTH sides to live up to their commitments; and point out to them when they do not. In this regard, a number of my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, had attempted to make this resolution more balanced and fair by opposing unilateral declarations and actions by either party outside the negotiating process that prejudice or predetermine the outcome of negotiations. This formula has been at the heart of the Olso process and U.S. policy from the start, and this is the message Congress ought to reinforce.

This resolution comes at a time just two months before crucial Israeli elections when it is likely to be viewed as a show of support for those the Israeli leadership who have thumbed their nose at the international community and its desire to see peace in the Middle East. Congress should not position itself in the middle of what the Israeli people must decide for themselves namely, who their leadership will be. I support peace based on fairness, justice, and security for all peoples of the Middle East.

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