Senate Passes Improved Palestinian Sanctions Bill

On Friday, June 23rd, the Senate passed a significantly improved version of S. 2370, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, by unanimous consent. Brit Tzedek's press release is below.

Your advocacy made a difference! The changes to the final Senate version address many of the concerns and recommendations advocated for by Brit Tzedek supporters, our allies, and the US State Department.  Though the Senate bill remains problematic, the stark difference between the punitive House bill, which passed last month, and the more moderate Senate version demonstrates that the impact of your advocacy goes far beyond simple vote tallies.

There are several possible scenarios for what comes next.  Most likely, the legislation will head to a conference committee, where Senate and House legislators will hammer out the major differences between the two bills. It is also possible that the House could simply pick up and pass the Senate language, that neither bill will become law, or that some version of either could be tacked on to a must-pass appropriations bill.  We will keep you updated on events as they unfold, and let you know when your voice will again be needed.

More information on the Senate bill:

  • Final text of S. 2370
  • Senate Approves Hamas Bill (Jerusalem Post, 6/24/06)
  • US Senate Passes Bill to Block Aid to Hamas Government (Ha'aretz, 6/24/06)
  • Americans for Peace Now Welcomes Senate Passage of Hamas Legislation
  • Israel Policy Forum Welcomes Senate Passage of Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act


    Brit Tzedek Welcomes Significant Improvements to Senate Palestinian Sanctions Bill; Urges Conferees to Adopt Senate Language

    Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, welcomes the significant improvements made to the Senate version of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, S. 2370, many of which were advocated by Brit Tzedek's network of more than 34,000 supporters nationwide. While we cannot endorse the bill because we believe that its overly extensive and largely unachievable requirements should not be preconditions for constructively engaging the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, we greatly prefer this legislation to the vastly more extreme House version and ask House-Senate conferees to adopt the Senate language.

    The amended Senate bill is a marked improvement of the overly restrictive and overly burdensome H.R. 4681, the House version of the legislation that passed last month, in that it gives the President greater discretion in promoting a negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, allows humanitarian aid to flow more freely, and supports moderate Palestinian leaders that are not affiliated with Hamas.  The US State Department, which opposed the House bill, also supports these modifications.  Specifically, the bill now contains:

    • a comprehensive Presidential waiver on direct funding to the PA that provides the Administration with the flexibility and discretion it needs to deal with security crises;
    • exemptions that allow humanitarian aid to flow more freely to NGOs that address the basic human needs of the Palestinian people;
    • restrictions on diplomatic relations only with those members of the PA that are also members of Hamas, thereby allowing the US to engage with moderate Palestinians that recognize and support peace with Israel;
    • certification requirements necessary to  bypass its sanctions  which focus only on Hamas, thereby allowing for a change in elected Palestinian leadership or the moderation of Hamas's stance towards Israel to void the bill's sanctions; and
    • the authorization of $20 million for the creation of an "Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reconciliation and Democracy Fund" that would support democracy, non-violence, and peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

    Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national grassroots movement 34,000 strong, that educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
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