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Congress & the Middle East: House Resolution Condemning Palestinian Violence

(October 25, 2000)

In October 200, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted H.Con.Res. 426 expressing solidarity with Israel and calling on the Palestinian leadership to stop the violence, refrain from making public statements that incite the public and settle its grievances through negotiations. The motion passed by a vote of 365-30. The text of the resolution and roll call vote follow:

2nd Session
H. CON. RES. 426


Concerning the violence in the Middle East.

Whereas the Arab-Israeli conflict must be resolved by peaceful negotiation;

Whereas since 1993 Israel and the Palestinians have been engaged in intensive negotiations over the future of the West Bank and Gaza;

Whereas the United States, through its consistent support of Israel and the cause of peace, made the current peace process possible;

Whereas the underlying basis of those negotiations was recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by Israel in exchange for the renunciation of violence by the PLO and its Chairman Yasser Arafat, first expressed in a letter to then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin dated September 9, 1993, in which Mr. Arafat stated: `[T]he 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.';

Whereas as a result of those negotiations, the Palestinians now fully control over 40 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, with over 95 percent of the Palestinian population under the civil administration of the Palestinian Authority;

Whereas as a result of peace negotiations, Israel turned over control of these areas to the Palestinian Authority with the clear understanding and expectation that the Palestinians would maintain order and security there;

Whereas the Palestinian Authority, with the assistance of Israel and the international community, created a strong police force, almost twice the number allowed under the Oslo Accords, specifically to maintain public order;

Whereas the Government of Israel made clear to the world its commitment to peace at Camp David, where it expressed its readiness to take wide-ranging and painful steps in order to bring an end to the conflict, but these proposals were rejected by Chairman Arafat;

Whereas perceived provocations must only be addressed at the negotiating table;

Whereas it is only through negotiations, and not through violence, that the Palestinians can hope to achieve their political aspirations;

Whereas even in the face of the desecration of Joseph's Tomb, a Jewish holy site in the West Bank, the Government of Israel has made it clear that it will withdraw forces from Palestinian areas if the Palestinian Authority maintains order in those areas; and

Whereas the Palestinian leadership not only did too little for far too long to control the violence, but in fact encouraged it: Now, therefore, be it

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

(1) expresses its solidarity with the state and people of Israel at this time of crisis;

(2) condemns the Palestinian leadership for encouraging the violence and doing so little for so long to stop it, resulting in the senseless loss of life;

(3) calls upon the Palestinian leadership to refrain from any exhortations to public incitement, urges the Palestinian leadership to vigorously use its security forces to act immediately to stop all violence, to show respect for all holy sites, and to settle all grievances through negotiations;

(4) commends successive Administrations on their continuing efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East;

(5) urges the current Administration to use its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to ensure that the Security Council does not again adopt unbalanced resolutions addressing the uncontrolled violence in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority; and

(6) calls on all parties involved in the Middle East conflict to make all possible efforts to reinvigorate the peace process in order to prevent further senseless loss of life by all sides.

Sources: Library of Congress