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More than 100 House Members Commend Rice for Recent Israeli-Palestinian Agreement

Press Release from Congresswoman Lois Capps regarding "Bipartisan Effort to Urge Engagement in Peace Process"

(Press Release from Congresswoman Capps -- 12/16/05)

Hyde, Capps Lead Bipartisan Effort to Urge Engagement in Peace Process

WASHINGTON , DC - Led by International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde and Congresswoman Lois Capps, 108 House Members sent a letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commending her for helping achieve the recent Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the Rafah border crossing. The Members wrote, "The successful opening of the
Gaza crossing on November 25th is a vital step on the path toward Israeli security, economic stability and growth for the Palestinians, political stability in Gaza , and the achievement of Israeli-Palestinian peace."

Hyde and Capps began soliciting co-signers on their letter shortly after Secretary Rice helped broker the Rafah accord on November 15. In a letter to their colleagues, Hyde and Capps wrote, "The Rafah agreement is critical for both Israel and the Palestinians. It places a high priority on increasing Israeli security and improving the Palestinian quality of life. It will also advance U.S. national security interests in the region by strengthening the efforts of the Palestinian Authority and countering the appeal of extremists."

The House letter urges Secretary Rice to "continue to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians a personal priority," stating that her actions "clearly demonstrate the value of robust, hands-on
U.S. diplomatic engagement with
Israel and the Palestinians."

Several House leaders in the areas of international affairs and national security joined Hyde and Capps in signing this letter. These included Tom Lantos, the Ranking Member of the Committee on International Relations, as well as Jim Leach, the second most senior Republican. Also signing were Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King and the Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman. David Obey, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, was an additional signatory.

Capps noted, "We all realize that no Middle East peace agreement is perfect and there will certainly be bumps in the road as the Rafah plan is implemented. But it is very important for Members of Congress to play a constructive role and support the Administration and the parties when progress like this is made."