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APN Legislative Round-Up - April 24, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions; 2. FY09 Supplemental Budget Request; 3. Secretary Clinton on the Hill; 4. More Focus on Iran

... for the week ending April 24, 2009
 
1.  Bills and Resolutions
2.  FY09 Supplemental Budget Request
3.  Secretary Clinton on the Hill
4.  More Focus on
Iran

 


1.  BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

 


( IRAN ) HR 1985: Introduced 4/21/09 by Rep. Kirk (R-IL) and 24 cosponsors, "To amend the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by expanding economic sanctions against Iran to include refined petroleum, and for other purposes."  Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Ways and Means. 

 


The purpose of the bill is to impose sanctions on any party that after a specified date "directly and significantly contributed to the enhancement of Iran's ability to develop petroleum resources of Iran," or "provided Iran with refined petroleum resources," "engaged in an activity, including production, brokerage, insurance, and tanker delivery services, that could contribute to Iran's ability to import refined petroleum resources" or "provided Iran with goods, services, or technology for refining petroleum."  The bill would also make it
U.S. policy to "direct state-owned entities to cease all investment in Iran 's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum resources to Iran " and "to persuade, and, where possible, require private entities based in their territories to cease all investment in Iran 's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum resources to Iran ."

 


(
IRAN ) Anticipated Bayh-Kyl-Lieberman companion to HR 1985:  According to a 4/21/09 article in the Wall Street Journal, "As early as this week, some key senators -- led by Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana, Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona and independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut -- will introduce a bill designed to hit Iran in what is widely regarded as its soft economic underbelly: its reliance on imported gasoline and other refined products."

 


Note:  In recent years,
Iran has been the main focus of the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington .  With this year's policy conference opening 5/3/09, it is probably no coincidence that this week saw the introduction of what appears to be this year's main Iran-related piece of legislation, in the form of HR 1985.  It is worth recalling that one of AIPAC's top lobbying issues during its June 2008 conference and lobby days was H. Con. Res. 362 - a resolution that generated significant controversy over concerns that its call for stopping imports of refined petroleum products to Iran was tantamount to an act of war.  Talking points in support of that resolution used by AIPAC activists during last year's lobby day noted " Iran imports 40 percent of its refined petroleum.  Restricting Iran 's access to such a product could force the regime to change course on it [sic] nuclear program.  Seeking to exploit these vulnerabilities, the resolution demands that the United States lead an international effort to curtail Iran 's ability to import refined petroleum products."

 


2.  FY09 SUPPLEMENTA BUDGET REQUEST

 


On
4/9/09 President Obama sent Congress his FY09 Supplemental Budget Request.  Secretary of Clinton testified in support of the request on 4/22/09 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and on 4/23/09 in the Appropriations Committee's Foreign Operations Subcommittee (excerpts from those hearings are included in Section 3, below).

 


Funding for Middle East-related priorities in the request, organized by funding category (and including any information provided in the request about each funding line), is as follows:

 


Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA)
> $25 million for assistance to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
> $125 million to support emergency humanitarian needs in the Gaza and the West Bank .

 


International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE)
> $109 million to train and equip Palestinian security forces and to enhance security along the Gaza border

 


Economic Support Funds ( ESF )
> $200 million for budget support for the Palestinian Authority
> $93 million for institutional capacity building and investments in education and social services in the West Bank
> $12 million for humanitarian assistance in the West Bank
> $60 million to promote West Bank economic growth
> $30 million to support governance and rule of law in the West Bank
> $95 million to support programs in Gaza to improve basic human needs, support economic recovery, create jobs, and restore some humanitarian essential services
> $61 million for immediate humanitarian and food relief to Gazans through well-established international organizations
> $5 million for contractor and locally engaged staff, program oversight, and related security and other support costs

 


Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
> 98.4 million for the Foreign Military Financing Program in Lebanon .  The funding requested would provide additional equipment and training to strengthen the Lebanese Armed Forces ( LAF ).  Additional security assistance will help maintain and expand LAF capabilities to prevent and respond to activities of militant groups and secure
Lebanon 's borders by training, vehicles, ammunition, communications, and other equipment.  Funding would also support a comprehensive training program for the LAF as part of international security sector reform efforts in Lebanon .

 


Non-proliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR)
> $50 million is to provide border security equipment, training, and program management for
Egypt to prevent smuggling of illicit goods into Gaza .

 


USAID Operating Expenses
>$5 million is for the U.S. direct hires, program oversight, and related security and other support costs for increased assistance programs in the West Bank and Gaza

 


Other Provisions
The request includes a provision that would continue the prohibition of any assistance to Hamas, any entity controlled by Hamas, or any power-sharing government that includes Hamas.  The provision would restore the Administration's ability to provide assistance (as permitted under the 2006 Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act) to a power-sharing government that meets the conditions laid down in PATA (PL 109-446), following language in the FY08 and FY09 Omnibus bills that shifted this obligation from the power-sharing government to the Hamas party.

 


3.  SECRETARY CLINTON ON THE HILL

 


This week Secretary Clinton appeared in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and in the Appropriations Committee's Foreign Operations Subcommittee to support President Obama's foreign aid requests in the FY09 Supplemental.  Her testimony, and in particular the subsequent Q&A in the ForOps subcommittee, offered a strong defense of the Obama Administration's approach and efforts in the Middle East, in particular regarding the Palestinians and Iran.  For this reason, extensive quotes from that Q&A are provided below.  Clinton 's opening statement from the ForOps hearing is available at:  http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/04/122098.htm

 


Lowey (D-NY) - Clinton exchange on Hamas and Unity Government:

 


Lowey:   ".we are all in agreement on a policy that prohibits any funding for Hamas or any Hamas-controlled entity until Hamas is willing to agree to the Quartet principles. In my opinion, I must say, that day will never come. However, Madame Secretary, you've asked for the ability to engage with a power-sharing government if that government meets these principles.  I'd like you to elaborate on why you need this language. What type of government would you support? And when you say that the power-sharing government would have to meet the three principles, I believe, it's not enough for Abu Mazen or Salam Fayyad to accept the principles. It must be all the ministers, including any minister appointed by Hamas, that comply with these principles. And I'd like to know if you agree with that.

 


Clinton:  ".with respect to Hamas, as I said yesterday again before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we will not deal with a Palestinian Authority unity government that includes Hamas, that does not meet the criteria of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and agreeing to all of the agreements that have already been entered into by the Palestinian Liberation Organization and then the Palestinian Authority.

 


"And I want to just, you know, reiterate that no aid will flow to Hamas, or any entity controlled by Hamas. Under our supplemental provision, the unity government would have to be certified by the president as meeting the requirements that we have set forth. And the reason for this request is that, number one, the Palestinian Authority itself has not agreed to any such unity government. The discussions have focused on so-called technocrats, people who might go into a unity government of some sort to fulfill certain specific functions.

 


"But this is a critically important time in the
Middle East , and we don't know what will come from these ongoing talks in Cairo . But if what emerges from these talks is a unity government that abides by the Quartet principles, we do want to have the authority to deal with that government in the peace process or negotiations that might possibly develop.

 


Before providing any such waiver, the administration would consider all the relevant facts, including who these people were, what their role in the government was, to make sure this meets our standards and our national interest. And we would expect any unity government to meet the standards of transparency and accountability that have been set forth by Prime Minister Fayyad. We doubt there will be such a unity agreement. There doesn't seem to be one in store.   But we don't want to, you know, bind our hands in the event that such an agreement is reached and the government that they are a part of agrees to our principles."

 


Lowey:  "I just wanted to clarify one point. When you talked about the government that you intend for us to support, if, in fact, there's a government -- in my judgment, all the ministers should comply with the Quartet principles and the principles -- (inaudible). Would you agree with that?"

 


Clinton :  ".our belief is that if the government complies with it, that is what we're looking for. And again, I mean, we're talking in such hypotheticals. We have no intention of dealing with Hamas unless they do what the PLO did. I mean, I was -- I was in Gaza when the PLO voted to recognize Israel , renounce violence. I was deeply involved in the peace process in Northern Ireland . Not everyone in Sinn Fein and not everyone in the IRA initially agreed to the principles. But the leadership of the government that was dealt with in both instances did. That's what we're looking for. And we think that is sufficient, given the assurances that we will be looking for to provide you."

 


Lowey-Clinton exchange on
Iran :

 


Lowey:  ".I'd like you to elaborate on the administration's policy on
Iran . While I support the president's policy of engagement, I do not think we should be taking any options off the table. In fact, I believe that any diplomatic initiatives have to be coupled with a tightening, a real tightening of the sanctions regime. And I'd like to know if you agree with that.  I think we need to ensure that our European allies, the Russians, the Indians and others are also enforcing these sanctions. As good as Stuart Levey is, I hope you can share your thoughts on this, please."

 


Clinton :  ".we have been working closely with our friends and partners and interested nations with respect to engaging with Iran . Just like you found, when you traveled in the region, we hear about Iran from everyone. This unites Israel and the Arab neighbors in the region.  Everyone is concerned, as we are, about Iran 's activities. We are concerned both about their pursuit of nuclear weapons and about their interference in the internal affairs of their neighbors and their support for terrorism and organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.   But we tried the policy of total isolation for eight years, and it did not deter Iran one bit. The nuclear program has continued unabated. They weren't supporting Hamas before; they're supporting Hamas now. So our view is we have to proceed on two tracks simultaneously and completely linked.

 


"As the president has said, we have said to the Iranians, we are willing to discuss with you a range of matters. We have sent our representative to the P-5 plus one to be a full participant because we think we need a better approach to trying to deter and prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons, and we continue to work on sanctions, which we intend to have available.

 


"We believe that pursuing this two-track approach, letting the world know we are willing to engage -- we don't know whether they want to engage with us; there's no basis yet for concluding they do -- will give us a stronger hand in getting leverage on them when it comes to tough, crippling sanctions."

 


Granger (R-TX) - Clinton Exchange on US-Israel relations

 


Granger:  "In press reports this week, it appears that the new Israeli government is not likely to move forward on peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in stopping Iran 's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limiting the increasing influence of Iran on the region. I'd like to know how this emerging position of the Netanyahu government affects the prospects for peace as we're moving forward. And is our government encouraging Arab states to take any specific actions against
Iran ? How are we doing that? And what countries do you believe can be most helpful to us?"

 


Clinton :  ".we are not going to prejudge the Israeli position until we've had face-to-face talks. You know, Senator Mitchell was just in the region, had intensive talks with the prime minister and members of his government. The prime minister will be coming to Washington in May. And we think that it's important not to prejudge what their view is and how that can best be approached.

 


"And let me just give you an example of what I mean. As I said, Israel is in lockstep with their Arab neighbors vis-a-vis their concern about Iran . We could argue -- and many Arab countries have -- and I think some of you met with King Abdullah in the past several days, and he has made public statements to this effect -- that for Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand, and that if we can work out such an approach -- and this is obviously, you know, up to the Israel government. They have to make these decisions. But if there such an approach, then a lot of the Arab countries are saying to us there will be a sequencing of support that will strengthen the region's response to Iran .  But as I said, I mean, we haven't had those in-depth conversations yet that we are looking forward to having with the Israeli government.

 


Granger:  "Have you had those conversations with Arab states, specifically? And what kind of expectations do you have from them? And which ones could be most helpful?"

 


Clinton :  ".we have had ongoing conversations with Arab states literally across North Africa, Israel 's immediate neighbors and into the Gulf.   The Arab Peace Initiative -- which by the way has the same principles as the Quartet principles, which people, you know, should really give the Arab League, most particularly Saudi Arabia, credit for. Every country with whom I have personally met -- and that's most of them by now -- wants very much to support the strongest possible posture toward Iran . They believe that Israel 's willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran .   So I -- I really believe that that's their strongly held view. And we have to sort of get everybody together in one place, which hasn't yet happened, to figure out how that can proceed."

 


Schiff (D-CA) - Clinton Exchange on Hamas/Unity Government

 


Schiff:  "To follow up on our subcommittee chair's question on the Palestinian Authority, I'm concerned -- and I think your testimony leaves this open -- that you could have a situation where Hamas is permitted to appoint ministers to a unity government provided those ministers agree to Quartet principles, even though Hamas does not. And it seems to me unworkable to have Hamas organizing terrorist attacks against Israel at the same time it has the power to appoint ministers to a coalition government. And I wonder if your testimony is leaving open that possibility, and how that could be -- how that could be workable. Because I don't see how that could be workable."

 


Clinton :  ".I understand the sensitivity about this. I believe that we have a proposed policy in the supplemental that is an important way of our being able to encourage a unity government that does accept the Quartet principles.  And I would just underscore what I said about Northern Ireland . There were a lot of people who weren't enthusiastic about joining in peace talks and did so because they were pushed. But they -- when they sat at the table, they had to be part of an entity that said they were in favor of, you know, a peace and, you know, not continuing the bombings in the U.K. and in Northern Ireland.

 


Kirk (R-IL) - Clinton Exchange on Hamas/Unity Government

 


Kirk:  "One question I have for you is, this committee has now approved $5.2 billion for Palestinian programs since 1992. That's more money than we provided to treat and cure cancer last year for the United States .  It looks like much of that money was wasted. And now we've got a request for $815 million more, just in one year, much of this money obviously borrowed from China , to give to the Palestinians. And I worry about the wisdom of that.   There is a lot of authorization language that was attached. And I don't know how we'll work this out, whether the appropriators will write the authorization language or whether Chairman Berman will.

 


"But one key provision: It does appear that it would provide taxpayer subsidies to a coalition Hamas government. And you know that we have at least 26 American citizens that have been murdered by Hamas, including Tehilla Nathanson of New York, 3 years old, Malka Roth of New York, Mordechai Reinitz of New York, Yitzhak Reinitz of New York, Leah Stern of New York, Goldie Taubenfeld of New York, Shmuel Taubenfeld of New York, also 3 years old, murdered by Hamas. The list of people killed directly on Hamas orders is clear.

 


"Now, the language; I've got it here for you to make it easy. This is the language provided that the chairman wrote. And I think this is very good language that prohibits assistance until Hamas accepts it and comply with the principles.  Your staff has said that they want to change this, as provided. This is actually an authorization of assistance provided, that assistance be provided to a power-sharing government, if -- (inaudible) -- government has accepted, meaning that if we have one Fatah president and 20 Hamas ministers, you would have the right to authorize taxpayer subsidies of this government.

 


"I'm worried that I met with King Abdullah yesterday, who said that Hamas ministers all directly follow the orders of Tehran . And so it's a worry that we would provide taxpayer subsidies to a government with Hamas ministers.  That's sort of like saying, well, we would provide taxpayer subsidies to a coalition government; it only has a few Nazis in it but it's okay. And I worry that the law that this committee drafted, by the chairman, is exactly correct. And I don't think that this language should prevail.   I would offer an amendment restoring the chairman's language, if it comes up this way, because I frankly think that this dog will not hunt. And it jeopardizes the entire bill. But I leave it up to you to comment."

 


Clinton :  "Let me just totally agree with the comments you made about Hamas and the terrorism and violence that they have wreaked, primarily on the Palestinian people but then causing the deaths and injuries of Israelis and even Americans.  I cannot stress strongly enough our administration's rejection of dealing with them or in any way supporting them or those who espouse their rejectionist, violent attitudes.   But you know, Congressman, we are currently funding the Lebanese government, which has Hezbollah in it. And we are doing that because we think on balance it is in the interest of the United States to support a government that is working hard to prevent the further incursion of extremism."

 


Kirk:  "Although -- if I could interrupt -- King Abdullah told us yesterday he is concerned that Hezbollah will "coup" that government in July."

 


Clinton : "Well, we are all concerned about it, which is one of the reasons why it's important that the elections that are going to be held in Lebanon try to reinforce the leadership of the existing government, which has been, you know, standing in the way of that."

 


Kirk:  "I would just urge that you're picking up some pretty strong bipartisan concern here, which means that an amendment is coming. So I would urge you to beat a strategic retreat on this point, and then use the Congress as the bad guy, saying, "Look, I am not going to be able to get taxpayer subsidy for a Hamas government in which King Abdullah publicly is telling people on Capitol Hill that all these ministers directly receive orders from the MOIS, Iranian intelligence service in Iran, and so you're just going to have to either go into coalition without our money, which isn't going to happen, or" -- and use us as the bad guys."

 


Clinton :  "Well, I appreciate that advice. And, you know, I mean, obviously we see it in a slightly more complex set of circumstances. In fact, we think there is some divisions between the Hamas leadership in Gaza and in Damascus . There's no doubt that those in Damascus take orders directly from Tehran . There is no doubt about that. But we do believe that there has been some efforts to try to get more authority and opportunity on the part of those in Gaza .  But nevertheless, Congressman, I take your point. I take it and I understand exactly the point you're making."

 


Crenshaw (R-FL) - Clinton Exchange on Russia/Iran

 


Crenshaw:  ". I want to maybe just bring up U.S.-Russia relations, because I think they're kind of lurking in the background, and particularly in terms of the Middle East . And I guess it was a week or two ago I read where the vice president said: Well, we ought to punch the reset button with Russia . And it probably isn't that easy. I mean, we've still got some underlying differences, but I would guess that the reason he said that -- because in the last couple of decades, I guess U.S.- Russian relations have pretty well, with the war in Georgia, kind of reached a new low ebb and maybe the only way to go is up, in that sense. But you know, with Russia , all the growth that took place with the oil revenues and then the difficulties we faced, they kind of had new parameters, and yet now things are changed again.  So maybe to start with, could -- what do you think about that in terms of -- can you really punch a reset button, you know, their relationship with Iran, things like that -- where do you think we are in that sense?"

 


Clinton :  ".We've had a series of quite constructive meetings. I've met with their foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and we teed up some decisions for our presidents' meeting in London , and the meeting between President Obama and President Medvedev were quite positive.   I think there are areas where we can cooperate and rebuild a constructive relationship.We are really looking for many areas where we can narrow the disagreements we have without sacrificing our principles. I mean, we are continuing our work with Georgia and Ukraine on an accession plan to NATO. We continue to press the Russians not to support Iran , which we think poses a greater threat to them than it does to us, personally. So there's -- there's a lot that we're working on. And we have, actually, put together a work plan, an organized approach to going through all of these issues between us. Secretary Lavrov will be here in Washington in early May."

 


Crenshaw:  "I can't see the light. If it's not on, I want to just ask you about the -- kind of with the Czech Republic and Poland , that's a source of tension. Can you comment on that, where we are?"

 


Clinton :  "Well, the proposed missile defense system in Poland and the CzechRepublic is designed to address a threat from Iran .  You know, it's not designed to overwhelm the Russian arsenal. I mean, even after a new START agreement, they're going to have, you know, a lot of nuclear weapons left. It never was intended to deter the Soviet Union , we -- or the Russians. We obviously don't think that that's in the cards at all. But that's why we've been telling the Russians over and over again, this is about Iran ; we think Iran is a threat to Europe and to you.

 


"We've also offered to the Russians to do research together on missile defense and to share information to try to provide an umbrella of security for Europe and Russia against a system that Iran might acquire, which is why we think it's important they don't supply Iran with a defense system to guard against incoming missiles.  So we've made this clear. I think the historic sensitivity of the Russians to their own borders, their effort to have a sphere of influence, which we totally reject, you know, makes it a hard case. But I think that they're beginning to understand what we're trying to say. And we'll see what comes of it."

 


Rothman (D-NJ) - Clinton Exchange on Iran

 


Rothman:  "Just came back from a trip to the Middle East with our chairwoman, Mrs. Lowey, and our ranking member, Ms. Granger. And I think it's fair to say, as you indicated in your remarks, that there appears to be a window of opportunity now for an agreement -- a peace agreement between Israel and her neighbors that, perhaps, did not exist in the last several years. That opportunity is present, and we want to make the most of it.  The worst actors in the region all have one thing in common: They're connected with Iran . They're Iranian proxies, whether it be Hezbollah or Hamas. And while we would very much enjoy a new relationship, a new beginning with the Iranian people, given their present regime and its offensive policies and disruptive activity in the region, that's not going to happen soon.

 


"Here's my -- here's my question: How do we balance the need to begin the engagement with -- in terms of negotiations and discussions with Iran that I think are an important departure from the past and necessary to see if there is a chance to peacefully resolve our issues of conflict with Iran? How do we balance that need to want to talk with the need for greater sanctions? What's the order of priority? Do we proceed with sanctions before we proceed with discussions? How are you going to handle that, frankly? How are you going to juggle that? -- number one."

 


Clinton :  "You know, we have sanctions and we continue those sanctions on Iran . We don't yet have any real engagement, so we don't know how to gauge the seriousness of any effort the Iranians may agree to be part of. The sanctions are a tool both for us to leverage pressure on the Iranian regime to change behaviors that we obviously consider serious threats.  And so we are talking with our partners about additional sanctions as part of an incentives, disincentives kind of approach to Iran . It's a delicate balancing act. It's hard to predict, because so much of it depends, in any negotiation, whether you're getting something or not.

 


"You know, one of the -- you know, one of the proposals that has been put forth by a number of people is the so-called "freeze for freeze."  .We would freeze our sanctions and they would freeze their nuclear program."

 


Rothman:  "Madame Secretary, they've been known, the Iranians, to slow-walk negotiations. They did with that EU. How do we prevent this?"

 


Clinton :  "We know that. We know that. But, you know, right now we are just testing their willingness to have any kind of engagement. There is no engagement -- (laughs) -- you know, so, it's kind of a -- you know, we have to plan all of this, think it through. Dennis Ross, who is handling our Southwest Asia policy, including Iran , is -- I'm sure you know him. He's extremely thoughtful and smart about how to sequence this.  So there's no easy answer for your question right now.  We know what our objectives are, and we know that if we're not successful in moving toward those objectives, that we have to impose even tougher sanctions. So it's -- it's a back-and-forth kind of assessment."

 


Rothman (D-NJ) - Clinton Exchange on Palestinian Aid Oversight (including strong Clinton defense of UNRWA)

 


Rothman:  "I know of your commitment that none of this money -- according to U.S. law, it cannot -- but your commitment that none of the money will go to Hamas or any other terrorist group. How -- what kind of new mechanisms do you plan to -- you and your magnificent staff intend to put into place to make certain that no Hamas member gets any of that humanitarian aid that we want to provide for the people of Gaza?"

 


Clinton:  ".I would reiterate what we intend to do about any aid that went to the Palestinian Authority, assuming that it complied with the Quartet principles, by saying that we intend to hold any entity that receives American aid to a very high standard. You know, we have made it clear to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, that, you know, we intend to carefully track any aid that they receive.

 


"They have taken additional steps, partly at our urging, to make their process more transparent, consistent with both United Nations commitments and U.S. legislation. They conduct background checks on employees. They share staff lists with us and with Israel . They prohibit staff participation in political activities. They launch investigations, upon receiving information from Israel , us, or anyone else, about any staff member engaging in inappropriate or illicit activities. They are actually investigating staff members right now who were elected in internal elections within Gaza . And we have pressed them very hard, because they have to earn our confidence in this.

 


"We are also vetting any NGOs. We've been very clear that any group that is a vehicle for us to give money for humanitarian relief in Gaza will be held to the same standards. We have a set of requirements on the Palestinian Authority that they have to pay certain bills, like utility companies and others, because we want the cash transfers to be trackable. So we're putting in place a lot of safeguards."

 


Rothman (D-NJ) - Clinton Exchange on Egypt

 


Rothman:  ".Finally, Egypt , the border with -- between Egypt and Gaza , we had a -- we had a -- we had a wonderful meeting with the authorities in Egypt . And I believe not only Egypt but most of the Arab world in the Gulf -- Jordan , Egypt and other places are -- the Saudis -- are committed to a new day with regard to living together in peace with Israel , resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, again, the number-one sticking point is Iran . They're making trouble. They're destabilizing the region. Their efforts to take over the region are very, very serious.  .how are we doing on helping the Egyptians secure that border with Gaza to prevent the rearming of Hamas with long-range rockets?"

 


Clinton :  ". Egypt has been very cooperative and helpful. They are doing more on the tunnels. I think that the plot that they uncovered involving Hezbollah was a real wake- up call in some ways, and they understand the increasing alliance between Hezbollah and Hamas and their connection to groups within Egypt that are aiming to destabilize the government.  So I'm seeing a greater level of understanding and cooperation, Congressman."

 


4.  MORE FOCUS RETURNING TO IRAN

 


In addition to HR 1985 and the anticipated Bayh-Kyl-Lieberman legislation, on 4/28/09 the House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to mark up HR 1327, "the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009.

 


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