Urge Your Representative Not to Support the Ros Lehtinen/Lantos Bill!

Dear Friends of Brit Tzedek

In response to Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections, Reps. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Lantos (D-CA) have introduced legislation that severely restricts the US's ability to constructively engage with moderate Palestinians and to provide critical aid to the Palestinian people. This bill, H.R. 4681, effectively forfeits any constructive US role in returning Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Urge your Representative not to support the Ros-Lehtinen/Lantos bill, H.R. 4681.


While there is no doubt that Hamas must renounce terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist, Brit Tzedek advocates a wait-and-see approach to the yet-to-be-formed Palestinian government, a position shared by President Bush and Israeli Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. However, Congress has rushed to respond to this turn of events with legislation that, as currently written, threatens to shut the door permanently--even if Hamas were no longer in the government--on any possibility of a return to negotiations and to plunge Palestinian society into a deeper humanitarian crisis.

Specifically, H.R. 4681, "The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006:"

  • Limits US diplomatic relations with all members of the Palestinian Authority, including President Abbas, whether or not they are associated with Hamas.
  • Restricts US aid to the Palestinian people delivered through non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These NGOs address pressing humanitarian needs and help develop Palestinian civil society.
  • Requires immediate, dramatic changes to the Palestinian Authority (PA) that cannot be achieved overnight. This legislation allows no time for a reform process and could push the PA to look to countries such as Iran and Syria for support.
  • Makes little distinction between the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), which recognizes Israel's right to exist, and the PA, which under Hamas' leadership does not. Many have suggested that the PLO could serve as a dialogue partner in place of the PA.
  • Maintains these sanctions and restrictions, which constitute dramatic changes to US foreign policy -- indefinitely -- regardless of whether a moderate leadership gets voted in to power or if Hamas begins to moderate its policies toward Israel.
Urge your Representative not to support the Ros-Lehtinen/Lantos bill!


L'Shalom,

Steve Masters
Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy

Rob Levy
Washington Representative

PS. Please share this Action Alert with family,
friends, and colleagues.



Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Your Congressperson

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Do Not Support the Ros Lehtinen/Lantos Bill (HR 4681)

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

As an American Jew, I urge you not to support H.R. 4681, the "Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006," introduced by Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Lantos. H.R. 4681 severely restricts the US's ability to constructively engage with moderate Palestinians, cuts critical aid to the Palestinian people, and forfeits the possibility that the US could play a constructive role in returning Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, which is the only path to security and peace for both people.

At a time when American and Israeli officials are searching for ways to bolster moderate Palestinians such as President Abbas, H.R. 4681 limits US diplomatic relations with all members of the Palestinian Authority, whether or not they are associated with Hamas. It also makes no distinction between the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization), which recognizes Israel's right to exist, and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which under Hamas' leadership does not. Many have suggested the PLO could serve as a dialogue partner in place of the PA.

This legislation restricts US aid to the Palestinian people delivered through non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which address pressing humanitarian needs and help develop Palestinian civil society. Deterioration in the plight of the Palestinian people only increases support for extremism, which, in turn, endangers Israel. Moreover, USAID funding to the West Bank and Gaza is the most highly conditioned and monitored aid program in the world.

Lastly, H.R. 4681 contains no "sunset" provision, and thus maintains these sanctions and restrictions, which constitute dramatic changes to US foreign policy, indefinitely, regardless of whether a moderate leadership gets voted in to power or if Hamas begins to moderate its policies toward Israel.

As an American Jew strongly committed to Israel's well-being through a negotiated two-state resolution of the conflict, I urge you not to support the Ros-Lehtinen/Lantos bill, H.R. 4681.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Take Action!

Instructions:
Click here to take action on this issue


Tell-A-Friend:
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
 Tell-a-Friend!


What's At Stake:
What's at Stake?

Congress must hear from American Jews who know that standing with Israel means supporting a tough stance against terrorism AND seeking ways to constructively engage with moderate Palestinians who are ready to work for a negotiated two-state solution.

Specifically, ask your Member of Congress to:

  • Not support the Ros-Lehtinen/Lantos bill, H.R. 4681;
  • Promote policies that constructively engage the Palestinian government in order to encourage the transformation of Hamas' actions and policies towards Israel; bolster moderate Palestinians; and prepare the way back to the negotiating table.
  • Maintain critical US assistance to the Palestinian people, via NGOs.

American Jews must speak out! Tell your Representatives not to support the Ros-Lehtinen/Lantos bill!

Additional links:

View the full text of H.R. 4681

Congress Differs With Israel, Bush Over Aid to Palestinians, February 9, 2006, Forward

Rosner's Domain, Guest: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, February 7, 2006, Ha'aretz 

A Primer on US aid to the Palestinians, February 1, 2006, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

USAID: West Bank and Gaza Program


Campaign Expiration Date:
February 15, 2006


If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.

This message was sent to . Visit your subscription management page to modify your email communication preferences or update your personal profile. Click here (or reply via email with "remove" in the subject line) to remove yourself from ALL email lists maintained by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.