To: Officers, Rabbis, Key Contacts
From: Richard B. Stone, Chairman
Betty Ehrenberg, Director, International and Communal Affairs
Re: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Enhancement Act of 2003 – S.1944
On June 24, 2002, President Bush set out important criteria that must serve as the basis of any Middle East peace process. The principles outlined by the President underline that above all, Palestinian terror and violence must cease; a new Palestinian leadership free from the taint of terrorism and willing and able to dismantle the terrorist network must be established; the Palestinian security apparatus must truly fight terrorism and not engage in it; and that there needs to be true accountability and transparency in Palestinian governments.
These principles are now more important than ever. The world has watched in horror as a young Palestinian mother became a suicide bomber and killed four Israelis. The cessation of violence and the strong principles outlined by President Bush can be the only sensible basis for moving ahead towards the President’s stated goal of genuine peace. Without an end to violence, no peace is possible.
In recent months, resolutions emphasizing these principles and urging the President to hold fast to them have been passed and sent by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Language codifying the President’s policy was included in the FY03 Foreign Operations Appropriate Bill and passed as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by the President last year.
In order to ensure that the Palestinians live up to these reforms, a new bill has been introduced by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla) that would codify the June 24th principles a free standing bill. The bill states that the security of the state of Israel is a major and enduring national security interest of the United States and that a lasting peace in the Middle East can only take root in an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism. The purpose of the bill is to demonstrate that the United States is only willing to provide assistance to a peaceful and democratic Palestinian state after it has achieved the reforms outlined by President Bush and has achieved peace with Israel. These reforms must be in place if Congress is to recognize any Palestinian state.
The bill also seeks to coordinate other countries and NGO’s in monitoring assistance to the Palestinians in order to assure that it is used to the purposes for which it was provided and that assistance is not provided to them through entities that are designated as terrorist organizations.
Write to your Senators and urge them to help pass S.1944, the Israeli-Palestinian Peace enhancement Act of 2003. As focus continues to remain on the Middle East and terrorism on the part of Palestinian terrorist groups continues with the encouragement of Yassir Arafat, this legislation will increase US efforts to encourage the emergence of a new Palestinian leadership that is firmly engaged in fighting terrorism and committed to peace with Israel. Please call your Senators at 202-224-3121, ask for the office of your Senator, and urge him/her to support S.1944 or write to your Senators at the address below.
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tel: 202-224-3121 (Ask for the name of your Senator)
Please act today to ensure that the principles outlined by President Bush on June 24th, 2002 will become law and that our vital national security interests in a safe and secure Israel will be safeguarded.