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APN Legislative Round-Up - February 6, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions; 2. Resolution Supporting Mitchell Appointment

...for the week ending February 6, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions
2. Resolution Supporting Mitchell Appointment


1. BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

(Supporting US Special Envoy Mitchell) H. Res. 130: Introduced 2/4/09 by Rep. Delahunt (D-MA) and 31 cosponsors, "Expressing support for the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and for other purposes." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(Iran) H. Con Res. 36: Introduced 2/3/09 by Rep. Wexler (D-FL) and 3 cosponsors, "Calling on the President and the allies of the United States to engage with officials of the Government of Iran to raise the case of Robert Levinson at every opportunity, urging officials of the Government of Iran to fulfill their promises of assistance to the family of Robert Levinson, and calling on the Government of Iran to share the results of its investigation into the disappearance of Robert Levinson with the Federal Bureau of Investigation." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(Iran) S. Con. Res. 4: Introduced 2/3/09 by Rep. Nelson (D-FL) and 5 cosponsors, "A concurrent resolution calling on the President and the allies of the United States to raise the case of Robert Levinson with officials of the Government of Iran at every level and opportunity, and urging officials of the Government of Iran to fulfill their promises of assistance to the family of Robert Levinson and to share information on the investigation into the disappearance of Robert Levinson with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

(Saudi Arabia) HR 792: Introduce 2/2/09 by Rep. Weiner (D-NY) and 5 cosponsors, "To prohibit assistance to Saudi Arabia." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Financial Services. It should be noted that the U.S. does not provide any traditional financial "assistance" (economic or military aid) to Saudi Arabia.

2. RESOLUTION SUPPORTING MITCHELL APPOINTMENT

As noted above, on 2/4/09 Rep. Delahunt (D-MA) and 31 cosponsors introduced H. Res. 130, supporting the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. Americans for Peace Now strongly supports this resolution. We are strongly urging all members to cosponsor it and we are urging House leaders to bring the measure to the floor where it can be passed. On 2/5/09, APN sent a message to every House office to this effect (copied below). APN also circulated a nationwide Action Alert urging activists to contact Congress and urge members to cosponsor (http://www.peacenow.org/updates.asp?rid=0&cid=5886).

Text of APN message to the Hill
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From: Lara Friedman

Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 8:12 AM

Subject: APN urges members to consponsor H. Res. 130 

Dear XXXXX, 

I wanted to make sure you had seen H. Res. 130, a resolution introduced yesterday by Rep. Delahunt (D-MA) and 31 cosponsors. This resolution expresses Congress' support for the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and Congress' commitment to support President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Special Envoy Mitchell "in their vigorous pursuit of a diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflict based on based on the establishment of 2 states, the State of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, and with recognized borders."  Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes the introduction of this timely, constructive, bipartisan measure. President Barack Obama, when announcing the appointment of Senator Mitchell, said that the policy of his administration will be to "actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians..." H. Res. 130 represents an important Congressional endorsement of President Obama's new approach to the Middle East.  We urge all members to cosponsor H. Res. 130, and we urge House leadership to work to pass H. Res. 130 on the House floor as soon as possible.  If you have any questions about this resolution or anything related to Israel and the quest for peace and security in the Middle East, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

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Original cosponsors (in alphabetical order): Delahunt (D-MA), Baldwin, (D-WA), Blumenauer (D-OR), Boustany (R-LA), Capps (D-CA), Capuano (D-MA), Cohen (D-TN), Davis (D-CA), Edwards (D-MD), Ellison (D-MN), Filner (D-CA), Fortenberry (R-NE), Frank (D-MA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Halvorson (D-IL), Hinchey (D-NY), Issa (R-CA), Kilroy (D-OH), McCollum (D-MN), Miller (D-CA), Neal (D-MA), Olver (D-MA), Perriello (D-VA), Pingree (D-ME), Polis (D-CO), Price (D-NC), Rahall (D-WV), Rangel (D-NY), Schakowsky (D-IL), Schiff (D-CA), Sestak (D-PA), Yarmuth (D-KY)

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Test of H. Res. 130

Whereas, on January 9, 2009, the House of Representatives passed, by an overwhelming margin, a resolution that reaffirmed "its strong support for United States Government efforts to promote a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a serious and sustained peace process that leads to the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure State of Israel.";  Whereas, on January 22, 2009, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell as the United States Government's Special Envoy for Middle East Peace;  Whereas President Obama, upon announcing Senator Mitchell's appointment, stated that "It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors" that ". ...recognizes (Israel's) rightful place in the community of nations.";  Whereas President Obama, upon announcing this appointment, stated that Senator Mitchell ". . .will be fully empowered at the negotiating table, and he will sustain our focus on the goal of peace.";  Whereas President Obama stated that he ". . .was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza. Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who've faced suffocating poverty for far too long.";  Whereas Secretary of State Clinton stated that Special Envoy Mitchell "will lead our efforts to reinvigorate the process for achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors. He will help us to develop an integrated strategy that defends the security of Israel, works to bring an end to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict that will result in two states, living side by side in peace and security, and to achieve further agreements to promote peace and security between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Senator Mitchell will also work to support the objectives that the President and I believe are critical and pressing in Gaza, to develop a program for humanitarian aid and eventual reconstruction, working with the Palestinian Authority and Israel on behalf of those objectives.";  Whereas Senator Mitchell stated, upon his appointment, that "peace and stability in the Middle East are in our national interest.";  Whereas Senator Mitchell also stated that "Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings; they can be ended by human beings" and that "This effort must be determined, persevering and patient. It must be backed up by political capital, economic resources, and focused attention at the highest levels of our government. And it must be firmly rooted in a shared vision of a peaceful future by the people who live in the region. At the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, and in pursuit of the President's policies, I pledge my full effort in the search for peace and stability in the Middle East.";  Whereas Senator Mitchell brings significant credibility to this effort as an experienced diplomat and negotiator, having been credited with brokering Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord that led to a resolution of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland and the termination of an 800-year old sectarian and national conflict; and  Whereas Senator Mitchell possesses appropriate expertise on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, having authored a well-received report on the causes of the second intifada in April 2001: Now, therefore, be it  Resolved, That the House of Representatives---  (1) congratulates Senator George Mitchell on his appointment as Special Envoy for Middle East 4 Peace;  (2) commits to supporting President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Special Envoy Mitchell in their vigorous pursuit of a diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts based on the establishment of 2 states, the State of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, and with recognized borders;  (3) reaffirms that peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Arab world are essential national security interests of the United States; and  (4) expresses its appreciation to those engaged in support of Middle East peacemaking and the recent cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, and calls on the international community to aggressively pursue efforts that facilitate a just and lasting resolution of these conflicts.


For more information, contact Lara Friedman, APN Director of Policy and Government Relations, at 202/728-1893, or at lfriedman@peacenow.org.