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Monday, October 16, 2000
(With names of those who did not sign) AIPAC: MORE THAN 90 U.S SENATORS STAND BY ISRAEL AND CALL UPON ARAFAT TO END THE VIOLENCE

With names of those who did not sign) AIPAC: MORE THAN 90 U.S SENATORS STAND BY ISRAEL AND CALL UPON ARAFAT TO END THE VIOLENCE
[Democratic Sens. Wellstone (MN), Lieberman (CT), Byrd (WV) and Republicans
Hagel (NE), Abraham (MI) and Gregg (NH) did not sign. Of those, only two actually said
"no" - Byrd and Abraham. The others could not be reached or did not respond
in time.]

October 13, 2000
Contact: Ken Bricker Ken_Bricker@aipac.org
(202) 639-5273

(Washington, D.C.) -- Applauding the U.S. Senate for
standing with Israel during a time of crisis, Howard Kohr, Executive
Director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), today
hailed a bipartisan letter to President Clinton from Senate Majority Leader
Trent Lott (R-MS) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).

The letter, signed by 94 U.S. Senators, expresses solidarity with the state
and people of Israel at this time of crisis, condemns the Palestinian
leadership for encouraging the violence and doing little to stop it, urges
the administration to veto the passage of unbalanced resolutions at the U.N.
Security Council and calls on all parties to revive the peace process. In
addition, the letter calls on President Clinton to take all necessary steps
to secure the return to Israel of the three Israelis soldiers kidnaped by
Hezbollah terrorists. (At 6:00 P.M, the letter was still circulating)

A copy of the letter follows:

October 12, 2000

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you to express both our solidarity with the State of Israel at
this moment of crisis and our profound disappointment and frustration with
PLO Chairman Arafat. It is, of course, unacceptable for him to resort to
violence at any time. But to usher in a deliberate campaign of violence now,
when the Government of Israel has been willing to consider unprecedented and
painful compromises to achieve a final peace agreement, can only cast deep
and troubling doubts about his desire for peace.

Resorting to violence constitutes a fundamental violation of the entire
peace process. Following the signing of the Declaration of Principles in
September 1993, Chairman Arafat wrote Israeli Prime Minister Rabin that:

"The PLO commits itself to the Middle East process, and to a peaceful
resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all
outstanding issues relation to permanent status will be resolved through
negotiations."

"The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles
constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful
coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and
stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other
acts of violence, and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and
personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and
discipline violators."

It was on the basis of these assurances that Prime Minister Rabin, among
other things, recognized the PLO.

We are deeply concerned at the continuing, coordinated campaign of
Palestinian violence. The Palestinian Broadcasting Authority ran continuous
film of the intifidah, urging Palestinians to take to the streets. Schools
were closed, to assure that Palestinian youths would be available to throw
rocks. Sermons in mosques exhorted people to take to the streets. The
Palestinian police were kept on the sidelines rather than ordered to take
steps to quell the violence. Arafat's private PLO army, the Tanzim, armed
with submachine guns, were dispatched to promote the rioting and to fire on
Israeli soldiers.

One can only conclude that Arafat either seeks to use violence as a
negotiating tool to extort even further concessions from the Government of
Israel, or that he in fact intends to end the peace process in its entirety
as a prelude to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. The
rioting has already spread elsewhere in the region, and the capture of three
Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah forces in Lebanon now threatens the outbreak
of war. And what has the Government of Israel sought throughout this crisis?
To see the violence stopped so that peace negotiations may be resumed.
Despite the provocations, despite the violence, despite the wanton
destruction of Joseph's Tomb-a revered Jewish holy site-Israel's aim has
been to get back to the negotiating table, yet, this is precisely what
Arafat has refused to do.

We urge you to express American solidarity with Israel at this crucial
moment, to condemn the Palestinian resort to violence, to do everything
possible to secure the return of the three kidnaped Israeli soldiers from
Lebanon, and to stand with Israel in international arenas - not only because
we should, but because such actions are also the best way to restore the
negotiating process. Arafat must understand that he will achieve none of his
political objectives through violence, that a unilateral declaration of
statehood will not be recognized by the United States, that only through
negotiations can he obtain the Palestinians legitimate political
aspirations, and that abandoning the negotiating process will have serious
repercussions.

This is a very dangerous hour in the Middle East. America's open and abiding
commitment to the security of Israel is the surest way to see our safely
through it.

Sincerely yours,

Trent Lott
Tom Daschle

Consistently ranked as the most influential foreign policy lobbying
organization on Capitol Hill, AIPAC is a non-partisan American membership
organization that seeks to strengthen the relationship between Israel and
the United States. For more than 40 years, AIPAC has been working with
Congress to build a strong, vibrant relationship between the United States
and Israel. Its 55,000 activists throughout the United States work to
improve and strengthen that relationship by supporting U.S.-Israel military,
economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. Please visit our Web Site at
AIPAC.ORG

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