- The House of Representatives is about
to begin markup on House Resolution 4681, the so-called Palestinian Anti-Terrorism
Act of 2006. This bill would prohibit the United States from providing
direct assistance to the Palestine Authority unless the President certifies
that the Authority has met the subjective and ambiguous conditions outlined
below. Markup is the usual step that precedes sending a bill to the floor
for a vote. One can ask why this bill is bound for the House floor, when
it has no known organized support from the American public, addresses no
issue of impact on the welfare of Americans, and flies in the face of the
considered views of many American allies.
- This bill is moving because it has almost
200 sponsoring members of Congress who have been cozened, promised campaign
contributions or intimidated into supporting it by the American Israel
Political Affairs Committee and other Israel support groups. AIPAC's immediate
weapon is all members of the House are up for reelection in November.
For any Member of Congress, the assurance of votes or of campaign funds
will be critical in the next few months. An about equal incentive, however,
is the fact that AIPAC has funded the defeat of several members of Congress
who in the past refused to cooperate by supporting Israeli interests.
- HR 4681 is one of the most mischievous
pieces of legislation to appear in the Congress in years.
- That becomes obvious as its eight stated
objectives are examined.
- This bill starts by declaring that "It
shall be the policy of the United States to support emergence of a democratic
Palestinian governing authority that"
- 1. *denounces and combats terrorism.*
The target of this legislation, Hamas, declared and has maintained a truce
for more than a year, campaigned successfully in a free and fair election
and won a majority in the Palestinian parliament? Isn't that at least a
significant step in the desired direction?
- 2. *has agreed to and is taking action
to disarm and dismantle any terrorist agency, network, or facility*. Hamas
is supposed to have the authority and will to do those things while under
a publicly announced Israeli threat to assassinate its leaders, including
the newly designated Prime Minister of Palestine.
- 3. *has agreed to work to eliminate anti-Israel
and anti-Semitic incitement and the commemoration of terrorists in Palestinian
society*. And this must be done while Israel continues to confiscate lands,
hog water, create roads that are for Israelis only and divide Palestine
into fragments where Palestinians are forced by Israeli occupation to live
in sub-human conditions. It would be a supreme act of will not to be anti-Israel
in these circumstances. Since the Palestinians are Semites, while the Ashkenazi
Zionists who persecute them are not Semites, anti-Semitism is actually
being practiced on the Palestinians.
- 4. *has agreed to respect the boundaries
and sovereignty of its neighbors.* The only boundary between Israel and
Palestine that has international standing, the 1967 Green Line, is constantly
violated by Israelis who continue to take additional lands for settlements,
while harassing Palestinians to leave the areas of Jerusalem and the Jordan
Valley. The likely winners of Israel's March 28 elections have touted their
intent to act unilaterally and take all of Palestine.
- 5. *acknowledges, respects, the human
rights of all peoples. *The human rights shoe is on the other foot.* *The
Palestinians are expected to accept willingly the status of second class
citizenship in Israel for those who live there, and to live under the sub-human
conditions imposed by Israeli occupation. By any objective standard, Israel
is guilty of continuing war crimes against the Palestinian people.
- 6. *conducts, free, fair, and transparent
elections in compliance with international standards. *In January the
Palestinians actually did that, but HR 4681 is designed to undercut a democratically
elected Palestinian Authority. The bill declares that because the Palestinians
elected leadership that the neighbors or the American Congress do not like,
the Palestinian people shall be punished.
- 7. *ensures institutional and financial
transparency and accountability. *The leadership that has a proven track
record for doing this happens to be Hamas, but HR 4681 gives no credit.
- 8. *has agreed to recognize the State
of Israel as an independent, sovereign, Jewish, democratic state. *The
Palestinians can do nothing to assure Israeli independence, sovereignty,
Jewishness, or democracy*; *they can only agree to Israel's right to exist,
but in a world of even minimal fairness, Israel would have to give the
Palestinians equal recognition.
- In short, the entire purpose of HR 4681
is to impose by American legislative fiat a Middle East peace settlement
that serves Israeli interests while giving the Palestinians nothing. If
the Palestinians comply with this act, they get only a small order of freedom
from American harassment. They will remain under the sub human conditions
of continuing Israeli occupation and face continuing theft of their lands,
no matter what they do.
- The most striking feature of this bill
is not the electoral support members of Congress undoubtedly have been
promised to pass it. The truly nasty feature of the bill is the use of
the US Congress by Israeli lobbies to keep Israeli leadership from having
to negotiate fairly with the Palestinian people. It is clear to serious
Palestine watchers that, if given the chance, Hamas has some ability to
push the Israeli-Palestine relationship toward genuine negotiations for
the first time ever. Meanwhile, the Israeli elections, whoever wins, are
unlikely to yield new Israeli leadership that is willing to negotiate.
The more likely outcome is an Israeli leadership that is dedicated to
unilateral actions meant to assure eventual Israeli possession of all of
- Those prospects contain no recipe for
Palestinian reform or prosperity. If this bill is passed, and the Palestinian
people are subjected to hardships that cause them to reject Hamas--the
clear purpose of this act--then the Palestinian/Israeli conflict will continue
and eventually grow worse. Frustration will drive more Palestinians into
terrorism. Sympathy for them will drive others into support for terrorism
or active involvement in terrorist attacks. The international terrorism
generator that Palestine has been for decades will be reignited full blast.
Under cover of that conflict, Israel will continue to confiscate Palestinian
lands until it reaches the Jordan and the Palestinian people are all expelled.
- Shame on the US Congress for being a
willing party to such a plan.
- The writer is the author of the recently
published work, _A World Less Safe_, now available on Amazon, and he is
a regular columnist on rense.com. He is a retired Senior Foreign Service
Officer of the US Department of State whose immediate pre-retirement positions
were as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counterterrorism, and as
Chairman of the Department of International Studies of the National War
College. He will welcome comment at email@example.com.