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Congress & the Middle East: House Resolution Backing Sharon Disengagement Plan

(June 23, 2004)

In June 2004, the House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res 460 to embrace President Bush's support of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. The motion was approved by a 407-9 roll call vote. The text of the resolution and roll call vote follow:

2nd Session
H. CON. RES. 460


Regarding the security of Israel and the principles of peace in the Middle East.

Whereas the United States is hopeful that a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be achieved;

Whereas the United States is strongly committed to the security of Israel and its well-being as a Jewish state;

Whereas Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has proposed an initiative intended to enhance the security of Israel and further the cause of peace in the Middle East;

Whereas President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Sharon have subsequently engaged in a dialogue with respect to this initiative;

Whereas President Bush, as part of that dialogue, expressed the support of the United States for Prime Minister Sharon's initiative in a letter dated April 14, 2004;

Whereas in the April 14, 2004, letter the President stated that in light of new realities on the ground in Israel, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, but realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities;

Whereas the President acknowledged that any agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a permanent alternative and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than in Israel;

Whereas the principles expressed in President Bush's letter will enhance the security of Israel and advance the cause of peace in the Middle East;

Whereas there will be no security for Israelis or Palestinians until Israel and the Palestinians, and all countries in the region and throughout the world, join together to fight terrorism and dismantle terrorist organizations;

Whereas the United States remains committed to the security of Israel, including secure, recognized, and defensible borders, and to preserving and strengthening the capability of Israel to deter enemies and defend itself against any threat;

Whereas Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism, including the right to take actions against terrorist organizations that threaten the citizens of Israel;

Whereas the President stated on June 24, 2002, his vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security and that vision can only be fully realized when terrorism is defeated, so that a new state may be created based on rule of law and respect for human rights; and

Whereas President Bush announced on March 14, 2003, that in order to promote a lasting peace, all Arab states must oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) strongly endorses the principles articulated by President Bush in his letter dated April 14, 2004, to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which will strengthen the security and well-being of the State of Israel; and

(2) supports continuing efforts with others in the international community to build the capacity and will of Palestinian institutions to fight terrorism, dismantle terrorist organizations, and prevent the areas from which Israel has withdrawn from posing a threat to the security of Israel.

Sources: Library of Congress