Congressional Monitor 4 January - 31 December 2007
Full text: 

 

 

 

 

Congressional Monitor

 

The 110th Congress, First Session: January 2007–January 2008

 

Compiled by Brian Wood[1]

 

Published each spring, the Congressional Monitor provides summaries of all relevant bills and resolutions (joint, concurrent, and simple) introduced during the previous session of Congress that mention, even briefly, either Palestine or Israel. Speeches are not included. The format is designed to give the reader an overview of U.S. legislation that relates to the Palestine issue and to help identify the major themes of legislation, its initiators, their priorities, the range of their concerns, and their attitudes toward the regional actors. Material in this compilation is drawn from thomas.loc.gov. Also available on this Web site is “How Our Laws Are Made,” an in-depth primer on the legislative process.

 

The 110th Congress: First Session

 

The first session of the 110th Congress convened on 4 January 2007 with the swearing in of Democratic majorities (elected November 2006) in both houses, and ended on 31 December 2007. Democratic control of Congress did not alter longstanding legislative trends concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Eighty-five measures pertaining to Palestine or Israel were introduced this session, 28 of which passed (32%, compared to 19% for all measures introduced this session). Of these 85 measures, 34 were bills or joint resolutions, which have the potential to become law. The remaining 51, simple or concurrent resolutions, cannot become law in their current form and are basically statements of opinion, some of which aim at influencing foreign policy, the formation of which is granted by the Constitution solely to the president.

Only three bills that contained sections relevant to Palestine or Israel became law during this session: the annual appropriations bills for the Depts. of Defense and State (H.R. 3222 on 7/30/07 and H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07, respectively), and the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6,1/12/07). However, 12 other measures introduced this session (and recorded in this Congressional Monitor) had all or some of their provisions added by amendment to these three bills. The most important of these measures was the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, the top legislative priority of the American Jewish Committee for 2007, which was introduced three times as a standalone bill (S. 838 on 3/12/07; H.R. 1838 on 3/29/07; and H.R. 2229 on 5/9/07) but failed to pass each time. Its main provisions, however, were eventually incorporated into the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Of the 34 measures that can have the force of law, 6 (18%) relate to the Holocaust, including 2 that lay the ground for reparations claims against insurance companies for unpaid claims and against railway companies that transported persons to Nazi concentration camps (France’s national railroad company is mentioned by name). Indeed, the session saw a spate of reparations bills (18% of the total). Besides the 2 Holocaust-related claims bills, 4 additional bills involve reparations for U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism, one of which specifically targets the Amman-based, Palestinian-owned Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East.

While concurrent and simple resolutions cannot become law, they are important indicators of the mood of Congress and what issues it considers important. Of the 51 such measures, the largest number—13 (almost 21%)—relate to the Holocaust, paying tribute to those who helped save Jews, grieving for loss of life under the Third Reich, and so on. A close second (11 measures, or 20%) are resolutions condemning or calling for action against Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for directly or implicitly threatening Israel or making anti-Israeli pronouncements. Six measures (>10%) celebrate or congratulate Israel for various achievements. Others specifically advance Israeli goals by calling for an upgrade to Israel’s relationship with NATO, urging U.S. representatives at all international forums to insist on Jewish refugee claims alongside Palestinian claims, calling on the U.S. to press for Israel’s membership in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and so on.

 

Key:

Con. Res. ——— Concurrent Resolution

CRPS/H ——— Conference report passed in Senate/House

H.R. ——— House Bill (having the force of law)

H. Amdt. ——— House Amendment

H./S. Res. ——— Simple Resolution

H./S.J. Res. ——— Joint Resolution (having the force of law)

S. ——— Senate Bill (having the force of law)

SA ——— Senate Amendment

Voice vote: Vote taken verbally and therefore not recorded

Vote tally: Yay-Nay-Present

 

A number of measures in the list below had previously been introduced during the 109th Congress (see JPS 144), but when a Congress ends the slate is wiped clean and measures must be reintroduced in the next Congress. Those not passed during this first session of the 110th Congress can be acted upon in the second session. The 37 measures that did not appear in the 109th Congress are marked with an asterisk (*).

 

The date listed by each measure indicates when it was first introduced during the 110th Congress, but the brief description that follows applies to the measure as it stood at the time of the “last major action” before the end of the session. The Energy Independence and Security Act, for example, was introduced on 12 January 2007 but did not become law until 19 December. A number of changes were made to the measure throughout the year: until the Congress ends or the measure is passed or withdrawn, it remains “live” and can be amended repeatedly.

 

For a bill to become law, it must be agreed to in identical form by the House and the Senate, and in most cases must be signed by the president. A presidential veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority in each chamber, although if Congress is not in session the president can veto a bill simply by not taking action for ten days after its presentation (an action known as a “pocket veto”). Various versions of legislative initiatives are often in play simultaneously; different versions are reconciled in the final passage.

 

In the case of measures that are similar or nearly identical, a “see also” entry has been added. Because of space limitations, descriptions of these similar measures have not been repeated; instead, the number and date of the measure that references the full description is highlighted in bold face.

 

* 4 January 2007: Withholding U.S. funds from the UN Human Rights Council for its stances vilifying Israel

H.R. 225, Cliff Stearns (R-FL), 17 cosponsors.

See also: similar measures H. Amdt. 379 and SA 2712 to H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07, S. 1698 on 6/26/07, and H. Res. 557 on 7/19/07. Note: This bill is similar to the House and Senate Amendments listed above that became law under the Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764) which passed 12/12/07.

Last major action: 1/4/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 5 January 2007: Grieving for the loss of life under the Third Reich

H. Con. Res. 17, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), no cosponsors.

Expresses the “sense of Congress” that Americans should grieve for loss of life under the Third Reich and celebrate continuing education efforts for tolerance and justice. Also expresses support for Israel as an outgrowth of World War II and the only democracy in the Middle East. 

Last major action: 2/5/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

9 January 2007: Calling on UN Security Council to charge Iranian President Ahmadinejad with violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention and UN Charter for his calls for the destruction of Israel

H. Con. Res. 21, Steve Rothman (D-NJ), 103 cosponsors.

Last major action: 6/21/07 referred to Senate committee (passed House 6/20, 411-2-11).

 

11 January 2007: Paying tribute to Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp, recognized by Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as Righteous among the Nations for saving Jews during the Holocaust

 H. Res. 52, James McGovern (D-MA), 35 cosponsors.

Last major action: 1/22/07 passed in House under suspension 413-0.

 

* 12 January 2007: Energy Independence and Security Act, 2007

H.R. 6, Nick Rahall (D-WV), 198 cosponsors.

This massive bill deals mostly with U.S. domestic energy reform, but one section—the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, which was subsequently inserted into the bill—establishes a grant program to implement an energy cooperation agreement between the U.S. Dept. of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. As such, the act supports unclassified research, development, and commercialization projects related to improved energy efficiency and alternative renewable energy sources (e.g., solar, biomass, wind, geothermal, fossil, and wave and tidal energy), as well as advanced battery technology. Grantees must be a joint venture between U.S. and Israeli entities (governmental, for-profit business, academic institution, national laboratory, or non-profit organization). The bill establishes an advisory board to the U.S. secy. of energy to oversee the grant program, comprising three persons: 1 representative of the federal government, and 2 chosen from lists compiled by the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation and the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, respectively. Funding will come from appropriations enacted according to Sec. 931 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R. 6, public law 109-58): $632 m. for 2007, $743 m. for 2008, and $852 m. for 2009. Appropriations beyond 2009 are not defined in that bill.

See also: similar measures H.R. 3220 on 7/30/07 and H.R. 3221 on 7/30/07; related measures S. 838 on 3/12/07, H.R. 1838 on 3/29/07, and H.R. 2229 on 5/9/07.

Last major action: 12/19/07 became public law 110-140.

 

* 16 January 2007: Calling on Bangladesh to drop charges against Bangladeshi journalist with ties to Israel

H. Res. 64, Mark Kirk (R-IL), 33 cosponsors.

Expresses the “sense of the House” that Bangladesh must immediately drop all pending charges against journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, winner of the American Jewish Committee’s Moral Courage Award. Choudhury was arrested by Bangladeshi authorities while en route to Tel Aviv.

Last major action: 3/13/07 passed in House 409-1-4.

 

30 January 2007: Calling for immediate and unconditional release of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon and Gaza

H. Res. 107, Gary Ackerman (D-NY), 75 cosponsors.

Resolves that all 3 captive Israeli soldiers (2 in Lebanon, 1 in Gaza) be released, that medical teams be allowed to visit the soldiers, and that Hizballah disarm according to UNSC Res. 1701. Also expresses support for Israel’s Jewish character, a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict through, inter alia, the creation of a Palestinian state. Also condemns Hamas and Hizballah and their “state sponsors,” Iran and Syria.

See also: companion measure S. 92 on 3/1/07.

Last major action: 3/13/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

* 5 February 2007: Condemning Hizballah for using human shields in the 2006 conflict with Israel

H. Res. 125, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 27 cosponsors.

Expresses deep concern over Hizballah’s violations of international humanitarian law and the laws of war for its use of human shields. Calls on legal scholars and the leadership of the U.S. Armed Forces to review the current international legal regime and to make recommendations to prevent the future use of human shields during armed conflicts.

Last major action: 4/25/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

7 February 2007: Calling on the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

H.R. 895, Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), 20 cosponsors.

Also calls for limiting operations of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, identifying Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in official documents, and recording Israel as the birth place in passports of U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem.

See also: similar measures S.J. Res. 12 on 4/25/07, H. Con. Res. 131 on 4/25/07, H. Con. Res. 152 on 5/22/07, H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07, and H. Con. Res. 171 on 6/20/07.

Last major action: 2/7/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 7 February 2007: Promoting Antiterrorism Cooperation through Technology and Science Act

H.R. 884, Pete King (R-NY), 22 cosponsors.

Seeks to establish the Science and Technology Homeland Security International Cooperative Programs Office to promote international antiterrorism cooperation; Israel is included on the short list of candidates for cooperation and joint programs involving the latest technology; $25 m. budget set for FY2008–09 programs.

Last major action: 2/28/07 referred to Senate committee (passed House 2/27/07, 396-16).

 

* 7 February 2007: Honoring Jacob Birnbaum for decades of work on behalf of Soviet Jews

H. Res. 137, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), 34 cosponsors.

Last major action: 6/18/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

8 February 2007: Calling for appointment of a U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace

H. Res. 143, Susan Davis (D-CA), 52 cosponsors.

See also: similar measuresS. Res. 224 on 6/7/07 and S. Res. 321 on 9/19/07.

Last major action: 4/17/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

14 February 2007: Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act

S. 594, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), 15 cosponsors.

Seeks to prohibit funds being used to sell, use, or transfer cluster munitions unless they have a 99% or higher functioning rate and are used only against clear military targets where no civilians reside. Requires the president to submit a report on clearing operations and costs within 30 days of their usage. The bill includes a presidential waiver.

See also: companion measureH.R. 1755 on 3/29/07.

Last major action: 2/14/07 referred to Senate committee. See H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07, where main provisions of this bill were inserted and passed.

 

15 February 2007: Permitting use of Capitol Rotunda for Holocaust remembrance ceremony

H. Con. Res. 66, Henry Waxman (D-CA), 6 cosponsors.

Last major action: 3/26/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent (3/22/07 passed in House 424-0-9).

 

15 February 2007: Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Education Assistance Act

H.R. 1092, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), 50 cosponsors.

Authorizes the secy. of education to make grants ($2 m./year for five years) to 501(c)(3) organizations for educational programs and curricula development to prevent Holocaust denial and to sensitize communities to the Holocaust.

See also: companion measure S. 963 on 3/22/07.

Last major action: 6/5/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

16 February 2007: Conferring honorary U.S. citizenship on Anne Frank

H.J. Res. 37, Steve Israel (D-NY), 22 cosponsors.

Last major action: 3/19/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

16 February 2007: Recognizing [Jewish] refugee populations in the Middle East

S. Res. 85, Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), 5 cosponsors.

Expresses the “sense of the Senate” deploring violations of human rights and religious freedoms in Arab and Muslim countries and declares that all refugees’ claims, including Jewish ones, must be addressed in any peace agreement in the region. Encourages all U.S. representatives, when in fora dealing with refugee issues, to insert Jewish refugee claims after any mention of Palestinian refugee claims.

See also: companion measure H. Res. 185 on 2/16/07

Last major action: 2/16/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

16 February 2007: Recognizing [Jewish] refugee populations in the Middle East

H. Res. 185, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), 32 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure S. Res. 85 on 2/16/07.

Last major action: 2/16/07 referred to House committee.

 

1 March 2007: Release immediately and unconditionally Israeli soldiers held by Hamas, Hizballah

S. Res. 92, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), 18 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure H. Res. 107 on 1/30/07.

Last major action: 4/12/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

6 March 2007: Celebrating Greek independence and the “excellent” relations between Greece and Israel

S. Res. 95, Arlen Spector (R-PA), 57 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure H. Res. 228 on 3/8/07.

Last major action: 3/15/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

7 March 2007: Honoring John Pehle for rescuing Jews during WWII

H. Res. 226, Lynn Woolsey, (D-CA), 20 cosponsors.

Notes that Jewish refugees were funneled to Palestine, among other countries.

Last major action: 6/11/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

8 March 2007: Celebrating Greek independence and the “excellent” relations between Greece and Israel

H. Res. 228, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 31 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure S. Res. 95 on 3/6/07.

Last major action: 3/13/07 passed in House 413-0.

 

9 March 2007: Upgrading Israel’s relationship with NATO

H. Res. 235, Robert Wexler (D-FL), 34 cosponsors.

“Supporting an upgrade in Israel's relationship with NATO to that of a leading member of NATO's Mediterranean dialogue and . . . a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace.” Cites, as justification for the upgrade, Israel’s democratic regime, military capabilities to fight terrorism, and the resulting benefits to NATO, the U.S., and Israel.

See also: related measure S. 1752 on 7/9/07.

Last major action: 3/9/07 referred to House committee.

 

12 March 2007: U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act

S. 838, Gordon Smith (R-OR), 10 cosponsors.

The bill is substantially the same as H.R. 2229, incorporated into H.R. 6. The most significant difference relates to the International Energy Advisory (IEA) Board, which here comprises 5 members: 2 appointees of the secy. of energy, 2 Israeli citizens appointed by the sec. of energy after consultation with Israel, and 1 appointee of the secy. of commerce. Members are compensated for expenses but not salaried. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the bill will cost $4 m. in 2008 and $35 m. in 2008–12, of which direct spending and revenues would not surpass $500,000 in any year.

See also:companion measure H.R. 1838 on 3/29/07; similar measure H.R. 2229 on 5/9/07; and related measures H.R. 6 on 1/12/07, H.R. 3220 on 7/30/07, and H.R. 3221 on 7/30/07.

Last major action: 9/17/07 placed on Senate calendar.

 

* 13 March 2007: Calling for opening of the Holocaust archives at Bad Arolsen, Germany

H. Res. 240, Alcee Hastings, (D-FL), 38 cosponsors.

Urges member states of the International Commission of the International Tracing Service (ITS) which have not yet ratified the May 2006 Amendments to the 1955 Bonn Accords Treaty to do so in order to expedite access to the archives.

See also: companion measure S. Res. 142 on 4/10/07; similar measure S. Res. 141 on 4/10/07; related measure H. Res. 854 on 12/10/07.

Last major action: 4/25/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

14 March 2007: Citing “grave concern” over Iran’s nuclear program, threats to Israel, Holocaust denial, and calling for further sanctions

S. Con. Res 19, Lindsay Graham (R-SC), 1 cosponsor.

Last major action: 3/14/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

15 March 2007: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations, FY2007

H.R. 1591, David Obey (D-WI), no cosponsors.

For Palestine it includes: $40 m. in Migration and Refugee Aid (MRA) to go to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees’ emergency needs; and $30 m. in Emergency Refugee and Migration Aid (ERMA), to be shared with Somalia, Chad, Iraq, and Sri Lanka.

Last major action: 5/1/07 vetoed by President George W. Bush because of a clause mandating withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by a certain date.

 

20 March 2007: Dept. of Defense Authorization Act, FY2008

 H.R. 1585, Ike Skelton, (D-MO), 1 cosponsor.

This is the annual bill that authorizes funds for programs, agencies, and accounts within the Dept. of Defense. One section cites the “sense of Congress” that the U.S. should have an active program of ballistic missile defense cooperation with Israel, take steps to improve the “coordination, interoperability, and integration” of U.S. and Israeli missile defense capabilities, and enhance the capability of both nations to defend against ballistic missile threats in the Middle East. To that end, it mandates a report by the secy. of defense to the Congressional defense committees on U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation. Authorizes funding requested by President Bush for the Arrow missile defense system jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel, including the additional $205 m. added and passed in the House version, so as to fully integrate their ballistic defense capabilities. Of the total $278.5 m. for the Arrow missile defense system, $25 m. is to accelerate co-production of the system; $45 m. to continue development of “David’s Sling,” a short-range missile defense system; $135 m. for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), to provide Israel with a “follow-on missile defense system of greater performance than the current Arrow system” and a capability “already fully integrated” with the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. A Senate amendment to the bill, (SA 2251, Frank Lautenberg [D-NJ], 20 cosponsors), entitled the “Justice for Marines and Other Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Act,” was submitted (7/16/07) and approved (9/26/07 by unanimous consent). It is identical to S. 1944 on 8/2/07 (see this entry for details).

Note: Authorization bills set spending limits for particular programs or accounts, but they do not appropriate actual funds.

Last major action: 12/28/07 vetoed by President Bush (12/12/07 CRPH 370-49; 13/14/07 CRPS 90-3) because of a clause in SA 2251 that would permit revival of lawsuits against the Iraqi government.

 

22 March 2007: Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Education Assistance Act

S. 963, Robert Menendez (D-NJ), 5 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure H.R. 1092 on 2/15/07.

Last major action: 3/22/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

* 28 March 2007: Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2007, requiring disclosure of Holocaust-era policies by insurers and establishing a federal cause of action for claims arising from covered policies

H.R. 1746, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 40 cosponsors.

Seeks to legislate the rights of Holocaust survivors and their heirs/beneficiaries to bring actions in U.S. courts to recover unpaid funds, primarily from insurance companies, which would be penalized $5000/day for noncompliance. All outstanding insurance claims are eligible for litigation in U.S. district courts and will be valued at three times their value in 12/1938, will incur 6% compounded interest per year, and include reimbursement of legal fees. Establishes a Holocaust Insurance Registry (HIR) that will list all unpaid insurance claims, estimated at between $17 b. and $200 b., for persons residing in Nazi-occupied areas between 1/30/1933 and 12/31/1945. Information revealed by insurance companies would be posted on the HIR.

Last major action: 10/23/07 referred to House committee.

 

29 March 2007: Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act

H.R. 1755, James McGovern (D-MA), 22 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure S. 594 on 2/14/07.

Last major action: 4/18/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

29 March 2007: U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act

H.R. 1838, Sherman (D-CA), 90 cosponsors.

This version was similar to H.R. 2229 (5/19/07), which was incorporated into H.R. 6. This measure differs from its counterpart in the Senate (S. 838) in that it allows the secy. of energy to appoint 1 U.S. citizen to the International Energy Advisory (IEA) Board instead of 2.

See also: companion measure S. 838 on 3/12/07; similar measure H.R. 2229 on 5/9/07; and related measures H.R. 6 on 1/12/07, H.R. 3220 on 7/30/07, and H.R. 3221 on 7/30/07.

Last major action: 3/30/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

29 March 2007: Preventing All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2007

S. 1027, Herb Kohl, (D-WI), 6 cosponsors.

This bill prevents tobacco smuggling and ensures collection of all tobacco taxes, since “Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations have profited from trafficking in illegal cigarettes or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps.”

See also: companion measureH.R. 4081 on 11/5/07.

Last major action: 9/11/07 placed on Senate calendar.

 

30 March 2007: Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2007 (PATA) Amending the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006[2]

H.R. 1856, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 6 cosponsors

In seeking to promote the development of democratic institutions in areas under PA administration, the bill would cut out most of the exceptions granted in S. 2370 (PATA, 2006; Public Law 109-446) to the PA president, his security detail, and PA judicial and legislative branches. (Exceptions were made for U.S. financial assistance, U.S. visas, and travel to the U.S. and UN.) The current bill would outlaw the office of the Permanent Palestinian Observer Mission to the UN. It also specifies criteria that the PA government or any successor entity must meet to be eligible to receive U.S. assistance. These were included in the failed H.R. 4681 PATA in 2006, and are as follows:

1)      No member of a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) controls or is a senior policy maker in any PA agency.

2)      PA publicly acknowledges Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

3)      Recommits and adheres to all previous agreements signed by the PLO and PA, including the road map.

4)      Purges those with ties to terrorism from its security forces.

5)      Dismantles all terrorist infrastructure, thwarts terrorist attacks, and cooperates with Israeli security services.

6)      Halts all anti-Israeli incitement in print and electronic media, schools, and mosques; promotes coexistence with Israel in all these arenas.

7)      Ensures democracy, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and transparent governance.

8)      Financial transparency of all government agencies.

U.S. financial assistance will be used only by the PA president’s office. Further, the U.S. president must assert that such assistance is in the national security interest of the U.S., and consult with Congress at least 30 days before any transfer of U.S. assistance. Other provisions call for withholding U.S. funds from UN agencies dealing with Palestinians proportional to the contributions they transfer to Palestinians, and for the U.S. to use its influence with any international financial institution to prohibit transfers of assistance to the PA.

Last major action: 6/8/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

* 10 April 2007: Open Bad Arolsen archives in Germany

S. Res. 141, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), 13 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure H. Res. 240 on 3/13/07; similar measure S. 142 on 4/10/07 and related measure H. Res. 854 on 12/10/07.

Last major action: 5/1/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

10 April 2007: Observing Holocaust Memorial Day and calling for the opening of the Bad Arolsen archives in Germany

S. Res. 142, Joe Biden (D-DE), 22 cosponsors.

See also: similar measuresH. Res. 240 on 3/13/07, S. Res. 141 on 4/10/07; related measure H. Res. 854 12/10/07.

Last major action: 4/11/2007 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

25 April 2007: Recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel at least 180 days before U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state

S. J. Res. 12, Sam Brownback (R-KS), 4 cosponsors.

Also conditions U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state on prior international community recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.

See also: similar measuresH.R. 895 on 2/7/07, H. Con. Res. 131 on 4/25/07, H. Con. Res. 152 on 5/22/07, and H. Con. Res. 171 on 6/20/07; related measure H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07.

Last major action: 4/25/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

25 April 2007: Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and congratulating Israelis on the 59th anniversary of their independence

H. Con. Res. 131, Joe Wilson (R-SC), 70 cosponsors.

Also calls upon U.S. president and secy. of state to reaffirm publicly and as U.S. policy that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel; “strongly urges” the president to begin moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; and “reaffirms Israel’s right to take necessary steps to prevent any future division of Jerusalem.”

See also: similar measures H.R. 895 on 2/7/07, S.J. Res. 12 on 4/25/07, H. Con. Res. 152 on 5/22/07, and H. Con. Res. 171 on 6/20/07; related measure H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07.

Last major action: 4/25/07 referred to House committee.

 

26 April 2007: Recognizing 59th anniversary of the independence of Israel and praising Israel for its ability to defend itself, its democratic institutions, and seeking peace with its neighbors

S. Res. 175, Sam Brownback, (R-KS), 27 cosponsors.

Also praises U.S.-Israeli relations and Israeli contributions to science and technology; praises Israel for creating a homeland for Jews, Holocaust survivors, and “Jewish refugees from Arab lands.”

See also:H. Con. Res. 131 on 4/25/07.

Last major action: 4/26/2007 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

3 May 2007: Supporting Israel’s entry into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), citing Israel’s democratic and free market values

S. Res. 188, Ben Cardin (D-MD), 4 cosponsors.

The resolution was timed to encourage U.S. officials attending the OECD meeting (5/07), where new OECD members were to be voted on, to use “all necessary means to secure Israel’s membership in the OECD.”

Last major action: 5/3/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

* 7 May 2007: Commending the Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Magen David Adom National Societies on the occasion of World Red Cross/Red Crescent Day

H. Res. 378, Luis Fortuño (Puerto Rico), 37 cosponsors.

The resolution did not include the Magen David Adom organization until its amendment on 6/26/07.

Last major action: 7/16/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

9 May 2007: U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act

H.R. 2229, Steve Gordon (R-OR), no cosponsors.

This bill was inserted in its entirety into H.R. 6 in 12/07, the Energy Independence and Security Act, which changed only its provisions with regard to the advisory board and appropriations as follows: the advisory board established in this bill is not named International Energy Advisory (IAE), that it consists of only 2 members, 1 U.S. and 1 Israeli citizen appointed by their respective governments, and that appropriations amount to $20 m./year for 7 years.

See also: similar measures S. 838 on 3/12/07, H.R. 1838 on 3/29/07; related measures H.R. 6 on 1/12/07, H.R. 3220 on 7/30/07,and H.R. 3221 on 7/30/07.

Last major action: 5/15/07 referred to House subcommittee. See H.R. 6 on 1/12/07 where the bill was inserted and passed.

 

* 14 May 2007: Requiring a progress report on bringing certain Palestinian terrorists to justice

H.R. 2293, Gary Ackerman (D-NY), 4 cosponsors.

Requires the secy. of state to report on efforts to bring to justice the Palestinians who killed John Branchizio, Mark Parson, and John Marin Linde, private contractors providing security for State Dept. and USAID officials traveling in Gaza on 10/15/03. Cites sense of Congress that the PA may not be a suitable partner for U.S. diplomacy due to the PA’s failure to bring them to justice. Also indicates that the PLO office in Washington may be closed, and U.S. funds be suspended or conditioned on resolution of this case.

Last major action: 7/17/07 received in Senate (7/16/07 passed House by voice vote).

 

22 May 2007: Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and congratulating Israel for defeating enemies that sought to destroy the Jewish state

H. Con. Res. 152, Tom Lantos (D-CA), 10 cosponsors.

Also commends Egypt and Jordan for their wisdom in embracing coexistence with Israel; commends Israel for its administration of Jerusalem for the past 40 years, during which all religions have been respected; calls on the U.S. president and all U.S. officials to abide by the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 mandating the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; and “urges the Palestinians and Arab countries to join with Israel in peace negotiations to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, including realization of the vision of two democratic states, Israeli and Palestinian, living side-by-side in peace and security.”

See also: similar measuresH.R. 895 on 2/7/07, S.J. Res. 12 on 4/25/07, H. Con. Res. 131 on 4/25/07, and H. Con. Res. 171 on 6/20/07; related measure H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07.

Last major action: 6/7/07 referred to Senate committee (6/5/07 passed House by voice vote).

 

23 May 2007: Expressing concern over Iran and its proxy terrorist organization Hizballah

H. Res. 435, Ron Klein (D-FL), 43 cosponsors.

Cites Hizballah as the perpetrator of the U.S. Marine barracks bombing in Beirut (1983), the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires (1982), and the bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (1994).

Last major action: 11/5/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

6 June 2007: Condemning the 5/30/07 decision by the University and College Union of the United Kingdom to support a boycott of Israeli academia

H. Res. 467, Patrick Murphy (D-PA), 70 cosponsors.

Urges the international scholarly community, the EU, and individual governments to reject calls for boycotting Israeli academia.

Last major action: 7/11/07 passed in House 414-0-2.

 

7 June 2007: Appoint cabinet-level envoy for Middle East peace

S. Res. 224, Diane Feinstein, (D-CA), 16 cosponsors.

Denounces the use of violence; calls on President Bush to employ robust diplomacy and appoint a high-ranking U.S. official as envoy to the region; cautions the PA and Israel against actions that would prejudice final status negotiations; calls on Hamas to adhere to the three Quartet principles for international recognition; and urges moderate Arab states to intensify diplomacy on behalf of the Arab Peace Initiative.

See also: similar measures H. Res. 143 on 2/8/07 and S. 321 on 9/19/07.

Last major action: 6/7/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

18 June 2007: Omnibus Appropriations Bill, FY2008

H.R. 2764, Nita Lowey (D-NY), no cosponsors.

This appropriations bill contains FY2008 funding for numerous federal agencies, and marks the first time that Congress has dealt with appropriations for both the Dept. of State and the international relations budget in the same bill. Pertinent sections include the Foreign Operations and State Department budgets, which include the following accounts:

Foreign Military Financing (FMF): Israel receives $2.4 b., of which $631.2 m. can be used to procure defense-related articles in Israel.

Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA): $40 m. for Israel to resettle refugees from the former Soviet Union and $200 m. “to address the pressing needs of Iraqi refugees and of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza.”

Economic Support Funds (ESF): Provides $218.5 m. in economic assistance to the West Bank and Gaza. Per House Amendment 388, however, (see below) funds cannot go directly to the PA. Of these funds, $2 m. can be used for administrative expenses for USAID for programs in the West Bank and Gaza; not more than $100 m. can be available for cash transfer to the PA, even with a presidential waiver, until the secy. of state certifies to Congressional appropriations committees that the PA has established a “single treasury account” for all PA expenses, eliminated all other accounts, and has established a single civil service roster and payroll. Stipulates that no funds may go to PA employees in Gaza, Hamas, any Hamas-controlled entity, or any “power-sharing government” with Hamas until Hamas accepts certain principles. Also requires an annual audit of assistance to the PA.

In the Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR)  account,the bill conditions U.S. funding of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Israel not being “denied its right to participate” in IAEA activities.

The bill also revokes $100 m. of the $1.715 b. in FMF and ESF to Egypt until it takes certain measures, including “detect[ing] and destroy[ing] the smuggling network and tunnels” between Egypt and Gaza.

Finally, contains the provisions of the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act (see S. 594 on 2/14/07 and H.R. 1755 on 3/29/07).

 

The final version of the bill and Senate Appropriations Committee detailed (110-128) the following subsections:

  • Provides $8 m. for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reconciliation, and Democracy Fund, which supports people-to-people reconciliation programs through grants made on a transparent, competitive basis.
  • Under the Reconciliation Program account provides $16 m. and an additional $9 m. for programs in the Middle East that “bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds in countries affected by civil conflict and war,” seeking to promote understanding, mutual respect, and reconciliation through the active participation of members of opposing groups. Grants are offered on an “open, transparent, and competitively bid process.” Decisions are made by USAID after consultation with the Dept. of State.
  • Under the Reconciliation Program account or the Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reconciliation, and Democracy Fund, supports (without specifying dollar amounts):  The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Interns for Peace, the Jerusalem YMCA, Seeds of Peace, and the Israeli-Arab Scholarship Program.
  • Recommends $25 m. for the multinational observer force in Sinai, $4 m. more than the administration’s request, due to Gaza’s deteriorating security situation.
  • Supports the first Regional Cooperative Program for Health conducted by the Hebrew University's Kuvin Center and Al Quds University.
  • Supports Dept. of State or USAID support for a project to be administered through New Mexico State University “to facilitate on-line communication . . . between Israeli and Palestinian students, concerning issues of mutual interest.”

 

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill also contains a number of annual provisions and prohibitions:

  • Cites Congress’ sense that the Arab League boycott of Israel should end, relations between Arab states and Israel should be normalized, and the U.S. should vigorously oppose this boycott.
  • Prohibits the appropriation of any funds for the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).
  • Prohibits appropriating any funds for any U.S. agency in Jerusalem, except the U.S. consulate, that conducts business with the PA or any successor government.
  • Prohibits U.S. assistance for the establishment of a Palestinian state unless certain conditions are met, including the PA working toward peaceful coexistence with Israel, peace in the Middle East, and the dismantlement of terrorist infrastructures.
  • For the West Bank and Gaza account, contains oversight and vetting clauses to ensure that U.S. funds do not serve terrorist activity. Also prohibits U.S. security assistance to the West Bank and Gaza until the secy. of state reports to the relevant committees on benchmarks for assistance and PA compliance with them. Allows for $500,000 to be used for auditing by USAID.
  • Prohibits funding to the PLO in the West Bank and Gaza unless the U.S. president waives this prohibition contained in the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act of 1995.
  • Permits U.S. financing to Israel, listed as a major non-NATO ally, for the procurement of defense-related articles through commercial leasing; prohibits appropriations from certain accounts to countries party to the International Criminal Court, except for NATO and major non-NATO allies like Israel.

 

Relevant House amendments to H.R. 2764 (all submitted 6/21/07):

* 1) H. Amdt. 379, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): Prohibits availability of funds for use by the Dept. of State for contribution to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Agreed to (6/21/07) in the House by voice vote.

2) H. Amdt. 384, Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO): Calls for a 0.5% across-the-board cut from the bill, except for aid designated to Israel. It was defeated (6/21/07) in the House 241-179. Note: several amendments were submitted to cut the overall budget of the bill; all were defeated.

3) H. Amdt. 388, Mike Pence (R-IN): Prohibits funds for direct aid to the PA unless “otherwise provided by existing law.” Agreed to (6/21/07) in the House, 390-30.

4) H. Amdt. 391, Doug Lamborn (R-CO): “Prohibits funds for any individual, private or government entity, or educational institution that does not expressly recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist.” Withdrawn (6/21/07) by unanimous consent.

 

Relevant Senate amendments to H.R. 2764 (all submitted 9/6/07)

* 1) SA 2712, Norm Coleman (R-MN), no cosponsors: Imposes restrictions on funding for international organizations supporting the UNHRC because of its “abuses” against Israel. This amendment was approved in the Senate 9/6/07 by unanimous consent.

2) SA 2786, Jon Kyl (R-AZ), 1 cosponsor: Expresses the sense of the Senate that Egypt must promote the rule of law and reduce weapons smuggling into Gaza. Cites Hamas’s 6/2007 takeover of Gaza as “unlawful”; urges the State Dept. to work vigorously and expeditiously with Egypt and Israel to bring the Egyptian-Gazan border under effective control. Approved in the Senate (9/6/07) by unanimous consent.

Last major action: 12/26/07 became public law 110-161.

 

20 June 2007: Relocate U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

H. Con. Res. 171, Tom Tancredo (R-CO), no cosponsors.

See also: similar measuresH.R. 895 on 2/7/07, S.J. Res. 12 on 4/25/07, H. Con. Res. 131 on 4/25/07, and H. Con. Res. 152 on 5/22/07; related measure H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07.

Last major action: 6/20/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 26 June 2007: UN Human Rights Council Funding Reform Act

S. 1698, Norm Coleman (R-MN), no cosponsors.

Provides that no funds appropriated for international organizations can be used to support the UNHRC. An amendment agreed to by voice vote in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee (SFAC) limited the bill to 2008 and 2009 and granted a presidential waiver. It would reduce U.S. contributions to the UN by the amount of U.S. funds designated for the UNHRC, totaling $1.5 m. per year, or a $3 m. reduction over two years.

See also: similar measures H.R. 225 on 1/4/07, H. Amdt. 379 and SA 2712 to H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07, and H. Res. 557 on 7/19/07. Note: This bill is similar to the House and Senate Amendments listed above that became law under the Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764) which passed 12/12/07.

Last major action: 7/25/07 placed on Senate calendar.

 

9 July 2007: Defense against Regional Threats Act, 2007

S. 1752, David Vitter (R-LA), no cosponsors.

Establishes U.S.policy on the deployment of missile defense systems protecting U.S. allies against ballistic missile attacks. Suggests deployment of similar missile defense systems to protect all NATO allies and Israel from Iranian ballistic missile attacks, and seeks burden-sharing agreements with NATO and Israel to develop such a system.

See also: related measureH. Res. 235 on 3/9/07.

Last major action: 7/9/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

10 July 2007: Outlawing PLO offices in the U.S.

H.R. 2975, Anthony Weiner (D-NY), no cosponsors.

The bill seeks to revert PA representation in the U.S. to its status as an information office, similar to the pre-Oslo accords situation.

Last major action: 7/10/07 referred to House committee.

 

10 July 2007: Prohibiting U.S. assistance to the PA unless certain conditions are met

H.R. 2978, Anthony Weiner (D-NY), no cosponsors.

U.S. aid will not be given to the PA unless 1) the PA leadership “is not tainted by violence; has publicly rebuked Palestinian violence and terror; ended hateful incitement; and taken all actions within its capacity to dismantle terrorist infrastructure”; and 2) “the violence in the West Bank and Gaza has subsided.”

Last major action: 7/10/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 10 July 2007: Arab Bank Accountability Act, 2007

H.R. 2985, Anthony Weiner (D-NY), no cosponsors.

According to this bill, “the President shall block all Arab Bank property and interests in property within the United States, including any branch or agency . . . and any such property or interests in property shall be available for payment of any judgment of any U.S. court of competent jurisdiction against the Arab Bank for money damages, which may include economic damages, and damages for pain and suffering, in any civil action against the Arab Bank by any victims of any terrorist act which the judgment of the court determines was supported by the Arab Bank or with which the Arab Bank was in any other way connected.”

Last major action: 7/10/07 referred to House committee.

 

16 July 2007: Expressing concern for Lebanon’s democratic institutions

H. Res. 548, Gary Ackerman (D-NY), 52 cosponsors.

Cites UN statements expressing concern at the mounting information provided by Israel and others of illegal arms movements into Lebanon, in violation of UNSC Res. 1701. Condemns Hizballah and “other pro-Syrian groups” that attempt to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon by “extralegal means;” confirms U.S. support for UN resolutions and international efforts to disarm all armed groups [outside the army] in Lebanon, particularly Hizballah and the Palestinian factions; honors nations who sent troops for UNIFIL; and asks the Lebanese government to request assistance from UNIFIL to secure the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Last major action: 9/25/07 passed in House 415-2.

 

* 18 July 2007: Condemning 1994 attack on Jewish community center in Argentina

H. Con. Res. 188, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 32 cosponsors.

Calls upon “responsible nations” to detain and extradite to Argentina “any of the Iranian officialsand former officials, Hezbollah operatives, and Islamist militants against whom” Argentinian or international arrest warrants are outstanding.

Last major action: 8/3/07 referred to Senate (7/30/07 passed House by voice vote).

 

* 19 July 2007: Condemning the UN Human Rights Council for unfairly targeting Israel

H. Res. 557, John Campbell (R-CA), 84 cosponsors.

Strongly condemns the UNHRC for ignoring severe human rights abuses in various countries, while unfairly targeting Israel by including it as the only country permanently placed on the Council's agenda. Among human rights issues requiring committee attention, cites Hamas-armed gunman violently taking over the Gaza Strip, “executing men, women, and children.”

See also: similar measuresH.R. 225 on 1/4/07, H. Amdt. 379 and SA 2712 to H.R. 2764 on 6/18/07, and S. 1698 on 6/26/07.

Last major action: 9/25/07 passed in House 416-2.

 

* 26 July 2007: Condemning Saudi Arabia’s and the PA’s failures in educational reforms related to terrorism

H. Con. Res. 194, Peter King (R-NY), 2 cosponsors.

“Urges Saudi Arabia to cease teaching Wahhabism and instead find an alternate, more benign form of Islamic teaching.” Also urges the PA to “officially recognize and accept Israel in maps and textbooks” and to “remove any inciteful dialogue about jihad and martyrdom.” The bill states that educational reforms by Saudi Arabia and the PA are necessary components of the global war on terrorism.

Last major action: 7/26/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 27 July 2007: Recognizing Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 Jewish children before the outbreak of WWII

H. Res. 583, Ron Klein (D-FL), 49 cosponsors.

Last major action: 9/17/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

30 July 2007: New Directions for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, 2007

H.R. 3221,Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 18 cosponsors.

A bill dealing with U.S. energy policy reforms. Part two of this bill contains the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act (S. 838 on 3/12/07). Note: This is the second of two similar bills (the other being H.R. 3220) with the same title and similar contents, introduced on the same day. H.R. 3221 was introduced because it contained changes to H.R. 3220 in portions unrelated to the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act.

See also: similar measure H.R. 6 on 1/12/08; related measures H.R. 1838 on 3/29/07 and H.R. 2229 on 5/9/07.

Last major action: 9/5/07 placed on Senate calendar (8/4/07 passed in House 241-172). See H.R. 6 on 1/12/07 that passed instead.

 

30 July 2007: Dept. of Defense Appropriations, FY2008

H.R. 3222, John Murtha (D-PA), no cosponsors.

Provides Israel with $155.572 m. for the Arrow missile defense system, including $37.383 m. for producing components in the U.S. and Israel; $37 m. for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense program; and $20 m. for an Arrow System Improvement Program-Upper Tier program for risk mitigation to “enhance the system.” The remaining $61.189 m. is undesignated within the limits of the Arrow System.

Last major action: 11/13/07 became public law 110-116 (11/8/07 CRPH 400-15; 11/8/07 CRPS voice vote).

 

* 2 August 2007: Justice for Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Act

S. 1944, Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), 30 cosponsors.

“Amends the federal judicial code to expand the rights of victims of state-sponsored terrorism by: (1) denying foreign states that support terrorism immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts for cases involving personal injury or death related to the terrorist activities of its officials, employees, or agents; (2) allowing certain U.S. nationals, including members of the Armed Forces and federal employees or contractors, the right to litigate against state sponsors of terrorism; (3) making foreign states liable for the actions of their officials, employees, or agents; (4) limiting appeals in cases against foreign states involving terrorist-related injuries; and (5) establishing a pending lien against property of a foreign state sponsor of terrorism upon the initiation of legal action in the U.S.”

See also:SA 2251 to H.R. 1585 on 3/20/07(where this bill was submitted on 7/16/07 as an amendment), companion measuresH.R. 3346 on 8/2/07 and H.R. 3369 on 8/3/07.

Last major action: 8/2/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

* 2 August 2007: Providing compensation for U.S. citizens taken hostage by terrorists

H.R. 3346, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 1 cosponsor.

Allows the U.S. president to pay compensation to U.S. citizens (or their estates) who (1) have obtained a U.S. court judgment on a claim against a foreign state for injuries sustained in a hostage situation; (2) were taken hostage anytime on or after 8/2/1990; (3) were not members of the Armed Forces; or (4) were plaintiffs in specific legal cases cited in the bill. Establishes a “Hostage Victims’ Fund” (HVF) in the Treasury Dept. that will make payments to said victims, with a ceiling of $500 m. (pertaining only to portions of the judgment not already satisfied). Where hostages survived, compensation will be set at $10,000 for every day they were held; for those who died or were tortured in captivity, the maximum allowable will be awarded. The HVF will be funded from blocked assets of terrorists, as well as compensation received by the U.S. resulting from legal actions against individuals who profited from the UN Oil for Food Program and seven other laws involving aiding or doing business with terrorists. A provision of the bill allows similar compensation for hostages taken by Iran on 11/4/1979, or by Hizballah in Lebanon on 12/4/1984. Funds for this section will come from the Iran Foreign Military Sales Fund account within the Foreign Military Sales Fund. Note: a similar bill, H.R. 3369, was introduced on 8/3/07 but is not listed in this Monitor.

See also: companion measureS. 1944 on 8/2/07;identical measureH.R. 3369 on 8/3/07.

Last major action: 9/10/07 referred to House subcommittee.

 

* 2 August 2007: Providing U.S. assistance to construct the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland

H.R. 3320, Christopher Smith (R-NJ), 17 cosponsors.

The bill calls for appropriations of $5 m. in U.S. assistance.

Last major action: 11/15/07 referred to Senate committee (11/14/07 PH 407-13).

 

* 4 August 2007: Congratulating Israel for chairing UN committee for the first time in history

H. Res. 624, Alcee Hastings (D-FL), 29 cosponsors.

“Congratulates Mr. Ron Adam, Israel's chair of the United Nations Committee on Program and Coordination, and the Government and people of the State of Israel” for this accomplishment; “supports continued expansion of Israel's role at the UN, calls on the UN to officially and publicly condemn anti-Semitic statements made at all UN meetings and hold accountable UN member states that make such statements, and urges the members of Western European and others group to extend full and permanent membership to Israel, without conditions . . .” Also expresses hope that Mr. Adam’s chairmanship will “encourage the normalization of Israel's bilateral and multilateral relations and challenge future disproportionate United Nations condemnation of Israel.”

Last major action: 10/15/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

19 September 2007: Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

S. Res. 321, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), 37 cosponsors.

See also: similar measures H. Res. 143 on 2/8/07 and S. 224 on 6/7/07. Note: S. Res. 321 is an updated version of S. 224 and accounts for events in the region since the latter was introduced by adding “whereas” clauses related to Hamas’s military victory over Fatah in Gaza and the appointment of Tony Blair as Quartet envoy.

Last major action: 9/19/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

* 20 September 2007: Recognizing the late Congressman Charles Vanik

H. Res. 669, Ron Klein (D-FL), 11 cosponsors.

Cited in particular were Vanik’s work in the 1930s to resettle Jews from Nazi Europe, and his co-authorship, with Sen. Henry Jackson (R-WA), of a 1974 amendment to the Trade Act conditioning U.S.-Soviet trade on the USSR lifting restrictions on Soviet emigration.

Note: Vanik’s amendment to the Trade Act facilitated an influx of mostly Jewish refugees into Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories from 1974 until the early 1990s.

See also: related measuresH. Res. 759 on 10/18/07 and S. Res. 367 on 11/6/07.

Last major action: 9/20/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 24 September 2007: Expressing House support for preemptive Israeli strikes against Syria

H. Res. 674, Robert Wexler (D-FL), 14 cosponsors.

Citing the “imminent threat” to the U.S., Israel, and U.S. Middle Eastern allies posed by Syria’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the resolution inter alia expresses unequivocal support for Israel's right to self defense in the face of imminent nuclear or military threat from Syria; condemns Syria for its continued support of terrorism and its illicit chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons activities; condemns North Korea for providing Syria with technology, expertise, and materials to develop nuclear weapons and urges President Bush to condemn North Korea for such provision and to reexamine diplomatic discussions with Pyongyang in light of its nuclear cooperation with Damascus; condemns Syria and Iran for continuing to support Hizballah and “Palestinian terrorist groups”; and urges President Bush to strengthen sanctions on Syria.

Last major action: 9/24/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 25 September 2007: Citing concern for the “potentially irreversible degradation” of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea

S. Res. 330, Richard Lugar (R-IN), no cosponsors.

Attributes degradation to the diversion of  90% of the Jordan River’s water by local governments; applauds cooperation among Israel, Jordan, and the PA to address the declining water level and quality of the Dead Sea and encourages them to continue cooperating to develop a comprehensive strategy to rectify the problem; and hopes that the cooperative spirit manifested in seeking a solution to the water crisis will serve as a model for the upcoming Israeli-PA meetings in Washington (Annapolis, 11/07) aimed at finding a durable solution to the Arab-Israeli crisis.

See also: similar measures S. Res. 334 on 9/27/07 and S. Res. 387 on 11/16.

Last major action: 9/25/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

* 27 September 2007: Citing concern for the degradation of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea

S. Res. 334, Richard Lugar (R-IN), 1 cosponsor.

See also: similar measures S. Res. 330 on 9/25/07 and S. Res. 387 on 11/16/07.

Last major action: 9/27/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

27 September 2007: Expressing grave concern over Iran’s and Syria’s continued violations of UN resolutions

H. Res. 690, Steve Israel (D-NY), 35 cosponsors.

States that Israel has fulfilled its obligations under UN Resolutions 1701 and 1559 (withdrawal of troops from Lebanon, maintenance of cease-fire). Demands full implementation of these resolutions by Hizballah, Lebanon, and surrounding countries by enforcing the arms embargo under UNSC Res. 1701. Expresses “unwavering support” support for UNIFIL, the Lebanese government, and a disarmed Lebanon, and condemns Iran and Syria for rearming Hizballah and supporting international terrorism.

Last major action: 9/27/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 1 October 2007: Ensuring the neutrality of U.S. courts for claims against railroad companies involved in the Holocaust

H.R. 3713, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), 5 cosponsors.

Seeks to grant original jurisdiction to U.S. district courts for civil lawsuits in any amount against any legally independent railroad company that transported deportees, particularly the Societé Nationale des Chemins de Fers Français, brought by heirs or survivors on behalf of persons deported to Nazi concentration camps from 1/1/1942 through 12/31/1944. There is no statute of limitations on lawsuits.

Last major action: 10/1/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 18 October 2007: Condemning Awqaf digging activities at the “Temple Mount”

H. Res. 756, Eric Cantor (R-VA), 36 cosponsors.

”Deplores the destruction of artifacts vitally important to Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.” Refers to the efforts of Waqf officials to replace electrical cables and water pipes in the summer of 2007, implying that their use of heavy equipment was “irresponsible” and “destructive.”

Last major action: 10/18/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 18 October 2007: Urging PA President Mahmud Abbas to abrogate certain articles of the “Fatah Constitution” [3]

H. Res. 758, Roy Blunt (R-MO), 14 cosponsors.

Urges PA President Mahmud Abbas “to officially abrogate the 10 articles in the Fatah Constitution that call for Israel's destruction and terrorism against Israel, oppose any political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and label Zionism as racism.”

Last major action: 10/18/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 18 October 2007: Recognizing the 40th anniversary of the mass movement for Soviet Jewish freedom and the 20th anniversary of the Freedom Sunday Rally for Soviet Jewry on the mall in Washington, DC

H. Res. 759, Henry Waxman (D-FL), 59 cosponsors.

See also: companion measureS. Res. 367 on 11/6/07; related measureH. Res. 669 on 9/20/07.

Last major action: 10/30/07 passed in House by voice vote.

 

* 25 October 2007: Saudi Arabia Accountability Act, 2007

S. 2243, Arlen Spector (R-PA), 4 cosponsors.

This bill “strongly encourages the Government of Saudi Arabia to end its support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism; to secure full Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents; to denounce Saudi sponsorship of extremist Wahhabi ideology, and for other purposes.” Cites Saudi Arabia’s support for the “Al Quds Intifada” in Palestine, especially payments totaling $545 m., some of which went to the families of “so-called martyrs.” Also cites a 2006 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that Saudi Arabia was considering tightening its boycott of Israeli products despite its WTO obligations.

Last major action: 10/25/07 referred to Senate committee.

 

5 November 2007: Preventing All Cigarette Trafficking Act, 2007

H.R. 4081, Anthony Weiner (D-NY), no cosponsors.

See also: companion measure S. 1027 on 3/29/07.

Last major action: 11/5/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 6 November 2007: Recognizing rallies in 1967 and 1987 on behalf of Soviet Jews

S. Res. 367, Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), 18 cosponsors.

See also: companion measure H. Res. 759 on 10/18/07.

Last major action: 11/16/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

* 13 November 2007: Honoring Theodor Criveanu, named by Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on 8/7/07 as Righteous among the Nations for his heroic efforts to save Romanian Jews during the Holocaust

H. Con. Res. 256, Alcee Hastings (D-FL), 10 cosponsors.

Last major action: 11/13/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 13 November 2007: Expressing concern over Russian arms sales to Iran, Syria

H. Con. Res. 257, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), 7 cosponsors.

Expresses strong concern over Russia's continued arms sales to Iran and Syria, which it identifies as state sponsors of global terrorism and weapons suppliers to Hizballah and Hamas, and urges Russia to immediately cease these sales. Also urges U.S. sanctions on Russian arms companies doing business with Syria or Iran, and urges Russia to play a constructive role in establishing peace and security in the Middle East.

Last major action: 11/13/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 16 November 2007: Citing concern for the degradation of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea

S. Res. 387, Richard Lugar (R-IN), 1 cosponsor.

See also: similar measures S. Res 330 on 9/25/07 and S. Res. 334 on 9/27/07.

Last major action: 11/16/07 passed in Senate by unanimous consent.

 

* 10 December 2007: Thanking member states of the International Tracing Service for ratifying Bonn Accords leading to the opening of the Bad Arolsen Holocaust archives

H. Res. 854, Alcee Hastings (D-FL), 30 cosponsors.

See also: companion measureS. Res. 404 on 12/13/07;similar measures H. Res. 240 on 3/13/07, S. Res. 141 on 4/10/07, and S. Res. 142 on 4/10/07.

Last major action: 12/10/07 referred to House committee.

 

* 13 December 2007: Thanking member states of the International Tracing Service for ratifying Bonn Accords leading to the opening of the Bad Arolsen Holocaust archives

S. Res. 404, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), 1 cosponsor.

See also: companion measure H. Res. 854 on 10/10/07; similar measures H. Res. 240 on 3/13/07, S. Res. 141 on 4/10/07, and S. Res. 142 on 4/10/07.

Last major action: 12/13/07 referred to Senate committee.



Brian Wood is a research assistant at the Institute for Palestine Studies.

 

[2] When the “softer” Senate version of PATA became law in 12/06 (see Congressional Monitor in JPS 144) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Tom Lantos (D-CA) vowed to reintroduce the tougher provisions contained in the failed House version. This bill is the outcome.

[3]  This resolution is comparable to a full page ad placed by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) in the New York Times on the same day, and, according to Americans for Peace Now, it resembled a resolution the ZOA submitted at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

 

 

Read more