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Ask Bush to Veto Anti-Palestinian Bill

Ask Bush to Veto Anti-Palestinian Bill

Despite our best efforts, the Senate version of the Palestinian
Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (S. 2370
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=242954448&url_num=2&url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:s.02370:>)
passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by voice vote,
clearing the way for the bill to reach the White House. No amendments
were allowed, no vote was recorded and no one other than the three
members who rose in support of the bill could be seen in the House chamber.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), the bill's sponsors,
lamented the fact that they could not send their original text on to the
president and instead had to settle for the Senate's less draconian but
nonetheless damaging language.

Despite our best efforts, the Senate version of the Palestinian
Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (S. 2370
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=242954448&url_num=2&url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:s.02370:>)
passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by voice vote,
clearing the way for the bill to reach the White House. No amendments
were allowed, no vote was recorded and no one other than the three
members who rose in support of the bill could be seen in the House chamber.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), the bill's sponsors,
lamented the fact that they could not send their original text on to the
president and instead had to settle for the Senate's less draconian but
nonetheless damaging language.

Anthony Weiner (D-NY) reiterated his constant demand that the U.S. close
the PLO Mission to the United Nations, a measure that was in the House
text but removed from the Senate version, before joining other prominent
"pro-Israel" Democrats in condemning former President Jimmy Carter's new
book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

The House version, H.R. 4681, like the Senate version, included a
panoply of economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Palestinians
for electing for a Hamas majority in the Palestinian Legislative
Council. Both versions of the bill contained measures intended to
sanction Hamas, fulfilling the bill's ostensible purpose, but also
included numerous "AIPAC wishlist" items to punish Palestinians as a whole.

The Council for the National Interest is joining with the U.S. Campaign
to End the Israeli Occupation in its campaign to have the president veto
this one-sided legislation.

*TAKE ACTION:* Contact the White House NOW by phone 202-456-1111, by fax
202-456-2461, and by email comments@whitehouse.gov
<mailto:comments@whitehouse.gov> and ask the President to veto S. 2370,
the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. Tell the President that the United
States should not be sanctioning people for exercising their right to vote.

The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is in the process of
trying to set up a meeting with White House officials to deliver a
petition signed by more than 340 U.S.-based organizations opposing the
Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act and to ask for a veto.

For more details about the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act and the U.S.
Campaign's efforts to oppose it, see their website:
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1188
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=242954448&url_num=3&url=http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1188>

-----

*The Iraq Study Group: Three Plus Three Does Not Equal Seven*
By Eugene Bird
December 8, 2006

America needs a rabbit's foot in the Middle East. We need to roll a
seven if we are to get out of this situation.

It has been a remarkable year for U.S. policy in the Middle East. The
debate about U.S. Middle East policy has been started by the combined
effect of three "controversial" statements. The first was "The Israel
Lobby" study released last spring by Professors John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt, which caused an enormous debate, the first of its kind in
the United States. (You can order the DVD "The Tipping Point: Changing
Perceptions of the U.S.-Israel Relationship," which includes a debate in
New York City featuring Prof. Mearsheimer and both Mearsheimer and Walt
at the National Press Club, at http://www.cnionline.org/pubs/
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=242954448&url_num=4&url=http://www.cnionline.org/pubs/>).
The two professors are currently writing a book to be released in the
fall of 2007 on the same subject.

The second was the publishing of former President Jimmy Carter's book,
"Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," last month. An extremely vicious
campaign to villify him is underway, but the book is climbing on the
bestseller list.

Third, the Baker-Hamilton report is the highest-level statement to
emphasize the connection between the Arab-Israeli dispute and an exit
strategy for ending the war in Iraq. A high-level Israeli delegation,
headed by its foreign minister and including the radical right-wing
politician Avigdor Leiberman, is holding a session at the Brookings
Institution this weekend, including a dinner at the Department of State.
Damage control on the report is already underway.

In their testimony on Thursday, Pearl Harbor Day, before the Senate
Armed Services Committee Lee Hamilton and Jim Baker made it clear that
real progress towards a settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute would be
the sine qua non of getting out of Iraq with honor and restoring
American leadership in the Middle East. The question is whether the
President will adopt that part of the report and move forward on a new
peace process with the Palestinians, the Syrians, and eventually the
Lebanese.

With two million Iraqi refugees, perhaps twice that number, now living
in neighboring countries, the administration has achieved a complete
implosion of the forces of stability in the whole Middle East. The
President said he would "seriously consider" the Baker-Hamilton report's
recommendations several times in his initial response in the Oval
Office. But within 48 hours, it was clear that many of the 79
recommendations would not be implemented.

More than forty specialists on the Middle East were involved with the
Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group. The commission interviewed almost every
person in a position of authority in the U.S. and Iraq, as well as
representatives of the other major political players in the region. The
commission even talked, with Bush Administration permission, with
unspecified representatives of the Iranian government. It tried to talk
with Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayatollah Sistani, the chief militia and
religious leaders, respectively, of the Shia in Iraq, but both leaders
refused to see them.

The group, however, failed to consult with any Palestinians or Islamists
with significant political support in the Middle East outside of Iraq,
such as leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah. These are the groups that could
be the key to unlocking the Middle East peace puzzle and might have met
willingly with an American commission.

What is likely to happen now? We can look for signs in another three
statements, all of which are expected to come out before the end of the
year. A Defense Department study is expected to be completed next week,
and a combined CIA and State Department report will follow, focusing
presumably on the political development of Iraq. Then the President will
choose among the 79 proposals by the Baker-Hamilton Commission and draw
from the other two reports before making a major address.

These events don't yet add up to a real change in American policy
towards Israel. If we want to roll a seven and end the game in the
Middle East on favorable terms, we will have to hope that the Congress
and the American public exercise real oversight and not leave the most
important foreign policy enterprise of our generation, reaching a
dialogue with modernizers and religious leaders of Islam and resolving
the Arab-Israeli conflict before the situation devolves into a regional
war in the Middle East.
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