Congress passes measure of support for Israel
Associated Press, May 2, 2002
WASHINGTON — Congress clasped Israel in a warm embrace on Thursday,
passing resolutions of support for the Jewish state and blessing its recent
military campaign as an attempt at “dismantling the terrorist infrastructure” in
“Let every terrorist know, the American people will never abandon freedom,
democracy or Israel,” said Texas Rep Tom DeLay, shortly before the House
voted overwhelmingly in favor of nonbinding legislation. Recent attacks directed
against Israelis, the House GOP whip added, “are attacks against liberty, and all
free people must recognize that Israel’s fight is our fight.”
“Israel has been under siege … from a systematic and deliberate campaign of
suicide and homicide attacks by terrorists,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman,
D-Conn., the leading sponsor of the measure that cleared the Senate. “Their
essence is identical to the attacks on our country of Sept. 11,” he said.
Both measures said the United States and Israel are “now engaged in a
common struggle against terrorism.”
But the bill that DeLay, a conservative who has been outspoken in his support
of Israel in recent months, and Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., sent to the House
floor was the more sharply worded of the two. It mentioned Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat by name and accused him of an “ongoing support of terror” in
the wave of bombings against Israelis this spring.
The House acted on a stand-alone resolution, passing it by 352-21.
Twenty-nine lawmakers voted present, several of them saying they had wanted
more balanced legislation. Lieberman and Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., offered
their proposal as an amendment to trade legislation. The vote was 96-2.
Lawmakers, eager to show solidarity with Israel, have long chafed at the silence
the Bush administration asked of Congress at a time when American diplomats
worked to stave off a wider outbreak of violence in the Middle East.
With Israeli troops ending their military operation on Wednesday, lifting a siege
of Arafat’s headquarters, the White House gave its grudging assent to the
“The president understands Congress will speak its mind in a nonbinding
fashion and the president will respect that,” White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer told reporters.
Referring to the 535 members of Congress, he added: “The president also
understands no foreign policy can have 535 secretary of states” — words that
seemed to say the administration was not endorsing the measures in all their
Earlier, officials had urged Lieberman, DeLay and other key lawmakers to soften
some of the language, and to insert phrases to express support for Palestinians.
Many of those requests were rejected — including a call to strip out
references to “dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.”
Both measures contained the phrase.
The House bill stated that Israel’s recent military operations were “an effort to
defend itself against the unspeakable horrors of ongoing terrorism and were
aimed only at dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas, an
obligation Arafat himself undertook but failed to carry out.”
The House acceded to two or three requests from the White House, adding a
provision that calls on the international community to “take action to alleviate
the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.”
A few lawmakers expressed concern with the legislation. Sen. Charles
Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would have preferred to see Arafat identified by name
in the Senate measure.
Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., dismissed what he said was a “simplistic,
one-sided” proposal that was political in nature and not in Israel’s best
interests. He and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., were the two senators to
oppose the measure.
In the House, some lawmakers said a more balanced approach would have been
“Resolutions like this can very well backfire and actually hurt Israel more
so than it will help,” said Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. A steady stream of
lawmakers spoke in favor of the bills in debates that unfolded simultaneously in
the chambers at opposite end of the Capitol.
The resolution calls upon all parties to work toward peace, said Smith. “But it
does say it without equivocation, we stand with Israel on the front line in the
war against terrorism,” he said.
“Israel has not asked for this war any more than we asked for ours
against al-Qaida and the Taliban,” Lantos told the House. “But when
democracies come under terrorist attack, it is morally incumbent upon us, as
the world’s leading democracy, to express our solidarity. That is what this
5/2/2002 Passed/agreed to in House. Latest Status: On motion to suspend the
rules and agree to the resolution, as amended Agreed to by recorded vote (2/3
required): 352 – 21.
Expressing solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism. (Introduced in the
House) 107th CONGRESS 2d Session H. RES. 392
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. DELAY (for himself, Mr. LANTOS, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. GILMAN, Mr.
FROST, Mr. BLUNT, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. REYNOLDS, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr.
CANTOR, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. WEXLER, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. CARDIN,
Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. SCHIFF, Mr. DEUTSCH, Mr. NADLER, and Ms.
SCHAKOWSKY) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the
Committee on International Relations RESOLUTION
Expressing solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism.
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
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 September 11, 2001;
Whereas Yasir Arafat and members of the Palestinian leadership have failed to
abide by their commitments to nonviolence made in the Israel-PLO 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 PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their
compliance [with the commitment to nonviolence], prevent violence, and
Whereas the continued terrorism and incitement committed, supported, and
coordinated by official arms of the Palestinian Authority are a direct violation of
Whereas forces directly under Yasir Arafat’s control — particularly, the al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades, which is part of Arafat’s Fatah organization and has been
designated a `Foreign Terrorist Organization’ by the United States government —
have murdered scores of innocent Israelis;
Whereas Yasir Arafat was directly 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 documents seized by Israel from offices of the Palestinian Authority
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
General 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 PLO have a long history of making and breaking
Whereas President George W. Bush declared at a joint session of Congress on
September 20, 2001, that `[f]rom this day forward, any nation that continues
to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile
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
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, `[g]iven 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 Israel has made clear its intention to withdraw from Palestinian areas
and has already begun to do so: 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 and coordination 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 PLO and Palestinian Authority entities tied
directly to Yasir Arafat;
(6) is gravely concerned that Arafat’s actions are not those of a viable partner
(7) urges all Arab states to declare their unqualified opposition to all forms of
terrorism, particularly 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; and
(9) urges all parties in the region to pursue vigorously efforts to establish a just,
lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
5/2/2002: Amendment SA 3389 agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 94 – 2.
Record Vote Number: 102. SA 3389. Mr. REID (for Mr. LIEBERMAN (for
himself, Mr. DASCHLE, Mr. SMITH of Oregon, Mr. ALLARD, Mr. BROWNBACK,
Mr. BUNNING, Mrs. CARNAHAN, Mr. CLELAND, Mrs. CLINTON, Ms. COLLINS,
Mr. DEWINE, Mr. HATCH, Mr. KYL, Mr. MCCONNELL, Mr. SANTORUM, Mr.
SMITH of New Hampshire, Mr. STEVENS, Mr. WARNER, Mr. BAUCUS, Mrs.
BOXER, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. CORZINE, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. GRAHAM, Ms.
LANDRIEU, Mr. HARKIN, Mr. JOHNSON, Mrs. MURRAY, Mrs. LINCOLN, Mr.
NELSON of Florida, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. REED, Mr. SCHUMER, Mr.
HUTCHINSON, Mr. GRASSLEY, Mr. CAMPBELL, Mr. VOINOVICH, Mr.
MURKOWSKI, Mr. ALLEN, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. THURMOND, Mr. NICKLES, Mr.
MCCAIN, Mr. KERRY, Mr. BAYH, Mr. BENNETT, Mr. BOND, Mr. BREAUX, Mr.
CRAPO, Mr. DODD, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. FEINGOLD, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, and Mr.
FITZGERALD) proposed an amendment to amendment SA 3386 proposed by
Mr. DASCHLE to the bill (H.R. 3009) supra; which was considered and agreed
SEC. __. EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY WITH ISRAEL IN ITS FIGHT AGAINST
(a) FINDINGS.–Congress makes the following findings:
(1) 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
(2) President George W. Bush declared on November 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.”.
(3) The United States has committed to provide resources to states on the
frontline in the war against terrorism.
(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS.–The Congress–
(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.