Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Commends The United States Senate for Passage of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (S. 2370), Urges the Congress to Revise and Strengthen Provisions of the Final Bill Before Submitting to the President.
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA) applauds the Senate passage of S. 2370, the “Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006” late Friday.
This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Joseph Biden (D-DE), was designed to isolate Hamas, promote the development of democratic institutions in areas under Palestinian Authority control, and to ensure that no U.S. funds are supporting the terrorist groups’ consolidation of power or legitimization. The House’s companion legislation, H.R. 4681, was passed by a majority vote (361 to 37) on May 23, 2006.
The Senate version differs from the House version of the bill on several points. The bill approved by the Senate gives the president more flexibility in waiving the provisions against the PA, is less restrictive on the issue of providing US assistance to non-governmental organizations operating in the Palestinian territories, expands the exceptions category from “basic human health needs” to “basic human needs,” and is far more expansive in addressing civil society and democracy exceptions, creating and appropriating $20 million for a “peace, reconciliation and democracy fund” to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Following the bill’s passage, UOJCA Director of Public Policy Nathan Diament stated:
“We commend the Senate for passage of this legislation, and the clear message it sends that Hamas’ decision to continue its support for terrorism has direct and immediate consequences. As the House and Senate now meet in conference committee to iron out any differences between their respective versions of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, we strongly encourage members to strengthen the bill, to eliminate this new $20 million PA slush fund, and to endeavor to send the toughest measure possible to the president for his signature.”