All but four members of the U.S. Senate signed the
following letter to President Clinton expressing their solidarity
with Israel. The four senators who did not sign were Spencer Abraham
[R-MI], Judd Gregg [R-NH], Robert Byrd [D-WV] and Chuck Hagel [R-NE].
The bipartisan letter was circulated by the Senate Majority Leader
Trent Lott [R-MS] and Tom Daschle [D-ND].
Dear Mr. President:
We write to you to express our solidarity with the
State of Israel at this moment of crisis and our profound
disappointment and frustration with PLO Chairman Arafat and the
Palestinian Authority. We are dismayed that they would allow violence
by Palestinians to be carried out without restraint or comment.
Resorting to violence constitutes a fundamental
violation of the Peace Process. Following the signing of the
Declaration of Principles in September 1993, Chairman Arafat wrote
Israeli Prime Minister Rabin that:
The PLO commits itself to the Middle East Peace
process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two
sides ad declares that all outstanding issues in relation to
permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.
The PLO considers that the signing of the
Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating
a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other
acts which endanger peace ad stability. Accordingly, the PLO
renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence, and will
assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to
assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.
It was on the basis of these assurances that Prime
Minister Rabin, among other things, recognized the PLO.
We are deeply concerned at the continuing,
coordinated campaign of Palestinian violence. That campaign leads us
to believe that Arafat either seeks to use violence as a negotiating
tool to extort even further concessions from the Government of
Israel, or that he in fact intends to end the peace process in its
entirety as a prelude to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian
This stands in contrast to what the Government of
Israel has -sought throughout this crisis. We note, for example, that
the Government of Israel proposed unprecedented compromises to
achieve a final peace agreement Despite subsequent provocations,
despite the violence, despite the wanton destruction of Joseph's Tomb
-a revered Jewish holy site-Israel has sought to see the violence
stopped so that peace negotiations could be resumed. Yet, Arafat has
failed to issue a statement to the Palestinian community that
violence is unacceptable, unlike Prime Minister Barak who has said
publicly that "I urge our Jewish citizens to refrain from
attacking Arabs and their property under any circumstances."
We urge you to express American solidarity with
Israel at this crucial moment, to condemn the Palestinian campaign of
violence, to do everything possible to secure the return of the three
kidnaped Israeli soldiers from Lebanon, and to stand with Israel in
international arenas - not only because we should, but because such
actions are also the best way to restore the negotiating process.
Arafat vast understand that he will achieve none of his political
objectives through violence, that a unilateral declaration of
statehood will not be recognized by the United States that only
through negotiations can the Palestinians' legitimate political
aspirations be realized, and that abandoning the negotiating process
will have serious repercussions.
This is a very dangerous hour in the Middle East.
America's open and abiding commitment to the security of Israel is
the surest way to see our way safely through it.