(Senate - October 24, 1995)

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[Pages S15520-S15522]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will now 
resume consideration of S. 1322, which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 1322) to provide for the relocation of the 
     United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and for other 

  The Senate resumed consideration of the bill.
  Mr. KYL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Kohl 
be added as a cosponsor to the legislation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. KYL. I also ask unanimous consent that the time consumed as a 
part of this debate be subtracted from the time originally provided for 
Senator Byrd from West Virginia.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Madam President, might I ask unanimous consent to add 
my name as an original cosponsor?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, Senator Wellstone will be 
added as an original cosponsor.
  Mr. KYL. May I also ask unanimous consent that a letter received this 
morning addressed to Senator Dole, Senator Moynihan, myself, and 
Senator Inouye from AIPAC be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:


                                                 October 24, 1995.
       Dear Senators Dole, Moynihan, Kyl, and Inouye: We wish to 
     express our strong support for the Jerusalem Embassy 
     Relocation Act, as modified. It is historic and 
     unprecedented. For the first time, the Senate will have voted 
     on binding legislation to move our embassy to Jerusalem by a 
     date certain, May 31, 1999.
       The waiver language contained in the bill is very tightly 
     drawn, allowing the President to waive the funding provision 
     only to protect US national security interest--a very high 
     standard to meet. Clearly, the Senate has indicated that it 
     does not expect this waiver to be exercised lightly, without 
     strong and serious justification. Our embassy belongs in the 
     capital of the State of Israel, just as it is in the 
     designated capital of every other country with which we have 
     diplomatic relations.
       As celebrations continue marking the 3,000th anniversary of 
     King David's incorporation of Jerusalem as the capital of 
     Israel, we wish to thank you and your colleagues for bringing 
     this legislation to the floor. We look forward to its 
     overwhelming adoption by the Senate, and to the opening of 
     our embassy in Jerusalem.
     Steve Grossman,
     Neal M. Sher,
       Executive Director.

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I want particularly to commend and 
thank the Senator from Arizona as well as the majority leader, Senator 
Lieberman, Senator Levin, and in particular Senator Lautenberg, because 
I believe that together we have effected an agreement which is 
significant and important.
  Before I go on, I just want to say I am fully aware that the majority 
leader and the Senator from Arizona could have proceeded on this issue. 
Clearly they have the votes. I think the fact that they negotiated with 
those of us who had concerns about the way in 

[[Page S 15521]]
which the resolution was worded is very significant and important, and 
I must say I believe that is why the American people sent us here and 
how they expect us to work.
  And so to the Senator from Arizona, I would like to offer my deepest 
respect and thanks for the process which I think worked very well, and 
I think we now have a bill which can bring about the broadest and I 
hope even unanimous consensus of this body.
  Madam President, I think we all must recognize that Jerusalem is a 
city of vital importance to people all over the world--not just Israel, 
not just Arab peoples, but people all over the world. Its layers of 
history and importance are symbolized best perhaps by the Temple Mount 
where the Dome of the Rock and the El-Aqsa Mosque, shrines holy to 
Moslems, sit atop the remains of the Temple of Solomon, while down 
below Jews worship at the Western Wall, the last remnant of that 
  One can stand in the Old City and hear simultaneously the Moslem call 
to prayer from the minarets of the mosques, the sounds of the Torah 
being read down by the Western Wall, and church bells ringing in the 
distance. It is truly a special city, and Israel is fortunate to call 
Jerusalem its capital.
  The bill we will pass today, as modified by the leader and the 
Senator from Arizona, is a good bill, and I believe it is one the 
President can sign. We worked hard Friday and again yesterday to 
produce a compromise that protects the President's prerogatives to 
conduct foreign policy. This was a crucial point because without these 
protections there was a good chance that this bill would be vetoed, 
which would be a tragic outcome.
  Under our compromise, the President would have to establish that it 
is in the national security interests of the United States to postpone 
establishing the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in 1999. This is a tough but 
fair standard for any President to meet. As I said yesterday, it is my 
belief that if a successful conclusion to the Middle East peace process 
could be imperiled by the implementation of this act, then the 
President would be able to invoke the waiver on national security 
grounds. I am sure that many of my colleagues agree. But the inclusion 
of the waiver should not obscure the achievement reached by this bill.
  For the first time ever, Congress will pass legislation that will 
mandate moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and I believe the 
President will sign it. This represents a major advance in our cause of 
moving the Embassy. And through this message we will send word that 
Israel, like every country in the world, has the sovereign right to 
designate its capital and to have that capital recognized by the 
nations of the world.
  I congratulate my colleagues on this achievement, and I look forward 
to it passing with overwhelming support.
  Mr. WELLSTONE addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I thank the majority leader.
  I might say to the majority leader that I will take just a few 
minutes. I actually rise to, first of all, thank the Senator from 
California and the Senator from Arizona and others for their fine work 
on this measure. I believe that this is an extremely important step we 
are taking as we act on this resolution to move our Embassy in Israel 
to Jerusalem, and to condition certain State Department funding on the 
Embassy's relocation under the specific timeline laid out in this bill. 
I rise in support of this legislation, and I am delighted to be a 
cosponsor of the compromise negotiated over the last few days.
  Madam President, let me first talk about this issue personally, 
because the status of Jerusalem is important to me personally, and will 
always be. As an American Jew, as a Senator from Minnesota, I believe 
Jerusalem is and should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided 
city. Never in my life have I had a more moving experience than when I 
was in Jerusalem a few years ago, and could experience first-hand the 
marvels of the city.
  At the same time, I have had a concern--and I think the Senator from 
California, Senator Feinstein, and from New Jersey, Senator Lautenberg, 
and others shared this concern--that certainly we did not want to do 
anything inadvertent which was going to impede the Mid-East peace 
process. And for this reason I believe that the waiver provided for in 
the substitute bill is extremely important. The administration has been 
clear about this concern all along. In fact, United States Ambassador 
to Israel Martin Indyk observed that moving forward on the original 
version of the resolution could have placed tremendous strains on the 
peace process, and even caused its collapse. This measure now tries to 
address that potential problem.
  Our deep and abiding commitment to Israel is reflected in the bill. 
Our commitment to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with the United 
States Embassy there, is again strongly and clearly stated. At the same 
time, the clear commitment to Jerusalem as a city for all peoples is 
there. This was the most sensitive of all issues in the peace process, 
agreed to be put off by the parties, in the Declaration of Principles, 
to final-status negotiations. I think that with this provision we now 
have in this bill something which I would hope all of us can support.
  The initial formulation in the bill, which talked about the 
importance of Jerusalem as the capital, which talked about our locating 
our Embassy there, I supported. When we began to talk about this in 
terms of specific timelines, the concern I had was the effect this 
could have on ongoing negotiations. Those concerns have now been 
addressed in this most recent version.
  Mr. President, passage of this resolution would be simply another 
indication of the deep and strong support for Israel in this body. That 
is critical, I think, because our support for Israel must remain strong 
and steadfast in this difficult period. Maintaining the security of the 
State of Israel, our good friend and strategic ally, must remain 
paramount. We must continue to work actively to help her achieve and 
maintain peace with her neighbors. This requires maintaining adequate 
foreign assistance to Israel designed to help her resettle refugees, 
make key economic reforms, and encourage peaceful economic development. 
Strengthening and building upon historic gains in the peace process, 
and making sure that the risks which have already been taken for peace 
were not taken in vain, must be our twin goals.
  I think we now have the strong language necessary to accomplish the 
goal of this resolution. At the same time, we have the waiver built in 
to give the President appropriate flexibility. I think that now this 
version of the bill represents the best of people here in the Senate 
coming together, and working out an agreement which we can all proudly 
support. I thank my colleagues for their work. I am proud to support 
this. And I did ask earlier that my name be included as an original 
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. SPECTER. Madam President, I support the pending legislation to 
move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because I 
believe that our Embassy should be located in the capital of Israel, 
which is the custom for all our other Embassies.
  I have long supported this proposition, Madam President. A bill was 
introduced back on October 1, 1983, Senate bill 2031, which I 
cosponsored. Back on March 26, 1990, Senate Concurrent Resolution 106 
was submitted. Again, I was a cosponsor of that measure. I have 
cosponsored the pending legislation.
  I do have some concerns, Madam President, as to whether such 
legislation would be an impediment to the peace process, but on balance 
I think it would not, especially as the legislation has been worked out 
giving a Presidential discretionary period to expand the time when the 
Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  I believe that basically this is a decision which ought to be made by 
the U.S. Government, and it is entirely appropriate for the legislation 
to come from the U.S. Senate and for us to take a stand on this matter.
  Madam President, today is an auspicious moment for me and many here 
in the Senate. We are taking action by the passage of S. 1322 to call 
again on the President of the United States to move the United States 
Embassy to its rightful location in the city of Jerusalem, the capital 
of Israel. This is a welcome moment.

[[Page S 15522]]

  I have supported this action since I came to the Senate. I first 
cosponsored a resolution on this issue introduced on October 1, 1983. 
That resolution (S. 2031) was cosponsored by 50 Senators. Now, some 15 
years later, it is my hope that with the momentum of the peace process, 
the message of the cosponsors to this bill will resonate sufficiently 
to move the administration to action on this.
  On March 26, 1990, Senate Concurrent Resolution 106 was submitted and 
was subsequently passed calling for the move of the Embassy to 
Jerusalem. Again, the Congress acted on this subject through its recent 
correspondence on February 24, 1995 in its letter to Secretary of State 
Warren Christopher signed by 93 Senators.
  During the August recess, I traveled to Israel as well as other 
countries. On September 28, I stated here on the Senate floor my 
impressions of the challenges facing American foreign policy in the 
near future. It was during that travel that I was able to speak 
directly with the President of Israel, Ezer Weitzman, Prime Minister 
Yitzhak Rabin, the leader of the opposition party Mr. Benjamin 
Netanyahu, as well as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation 
Organization, Mr. Arafat and significant Palestinian personalities now 
engaged in attempting to fashion a means to live side by side, Israelis 
with Palestinians. Many times during these conversations, we spoke of 
Jerusalem and the future. All of us were aware of the importance of 
Jerusalem to the future of the region.
  Tomorrow, Members of Congress and their guests will convene in the 
Capitol Rotunda to celebrate the Inaugural ceremony for Jerusalem 
3,000, a 15 month long celebration commemorating 3,000 years since the 
establishment of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel by King David. 
I hope to be in attendance at this ceremony.
  The action we take today is consonant with the observance of the 
ceremony as well as with the policy we have around the world in every 
country we recognize. The United States today locates its embassies, 
around the globe, in the city designated by the respective country as 
its capital. It is long overdue that this is our action in Israel. It 
is most appropriate that, as we move toward the period when both sides 
in the conflict are scheduled to move into negotiations over a 
permanent resolution, that the commitment to a date certain be made for 
the opening of our embassy.
  We have been, and continue to be, the catalyst in bringing the 
parties to resolution; it is my hope that our action in the Senate 
today will be accepted and acted upon by President Clinton and that no 
further roadblocks will be put up which would impede the opening of the 
Embassy in Jerusalem on May 31, 1999, as provided for in this 
  I think it is very, very important that Jerusalem remain undivided, 
and I think the expression by the U.S. Congress putting into law the 
timetable for moving our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is entirely 
appropriate, and accordingly I support that legislation. I yield the