House Letter Calls for Reassessment of U.S.- Palestinian Relationship
The American Muslim Council (AMC) recently urged its members to write and call Congress after Rep. Henry Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee and Rep. Tom Lantos, the Ranking Minority Member, circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter for congressional signatures on a letter to President Bush. What is in the letter that has them so exercised?
The American Muslim Council (AMC) recently urged its members to write and call Congress after Rep. Henry Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee and Rep. Tom Lantos, the Ranking Minority Member, circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter for congressional signatures on a letter to President Bush. What is in the letter that has them so exercised? The AMC writes, “In the letter, [Lantos and Hyde] place the blame for the violence in the holy lands squarely on the Palestinians and portray the Israeli side as the victim!!!” The AMC urges its members to “explain…(that) American uncritical and unlimited support for Israel is hurting our interests in the Muslim World, and hurting our credibility worldwide.”
Sorry guys. Mr. Hyde and Mr. Lantos (along with Rep. Ben Gilman, Chairman, Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia and Rep. Gary Ackerman, Ranking Member) put American interests first by insisting that the Administration uphold American law. Every member of Congress should sign on.
The Hyde and Lantos “Dear Colleague” letter begins, “Less than eight months ago, the Government of Israel offered a final status proposal to the Palestinians that was breathtaking in the scope of its concessions. The Palestinian response was not only to reject Israel’s offer but to embark on a deliberate campaign of violence against Israelis.”
Included in the letter is a quote from a PA official about the PA plans to initiate the violence, and continues, “Mr. President, the United States opened a dialogue with the PLO, allowed the PLO to maintain an office in Washington, allowed PLO officials to visit the United States and provided funding to the Palestinians under very specific conditions: that the Palestinian leadership remain committed to the negotiating process and that they renounce the use of violence. In fact, Section 1302 of the International Security and Development Act of 1985 specifically prohibits any employee of the U.S. government from negotiating with a PLO official unless the PLO ‘renounces the use of terrorism.”
The Dear Colleague letter concludes, “We invite you to join us in sending a letter to the President urging him to direct a U.S. reassessment of our relationship with the Palestinians, including the consideration of whether Palestinians involved in violent attacks against Israelis should be barred from the U.S., whether Palestinian groups which have organized terrorist attacks should be designated foreign terrorist organizations under U.S. law, whether the PLO office in Washington should be allowed to remain open, and other questions. While this reassessment is taking place, we think it inappropriate for Chairman Arafat to be invited to meet with high-level officials in Washington.”
We think so too, and hope the Administration will agree.