February 29, 1996 - Issue: Vol. 142, No. 26 — Daily Edition104th Congress (1995 - 1996) - 2nd Session
CONDEMNING TERROR ATTACKS IN ISRAEL; Congressional Record Vol. 142, No. 26
(Senate - February 29, 1996)
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[Pages S1470-S1471] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] CONDEMNING TERROR ATTACKS IN ISRAEL Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Senate Resolution 228, submitted earlier today by Senators Helms, Pell, Dole, and Daschle. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Clerk will report. The assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A resolution (S. Res. 228) condemning terror attacks in Israel. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the immediate consideration of the resolution? There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution. Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, it is with profound regret that I feel obliged to offer another resolution condemning an act of terrorism in Israel. Early this past Sunday, suicide bombers from the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas slaughtered 25 innocent human beings in two separate terrorist attacks. In Jerusalem, two young Americans, a young man and his financee, were among those who died. Shock waves from the bomb blast reverberated around Jerusalem. I am confident that decent people the world over were dismayed. Mr. President, we hear much oratory about the sacrifices that must be made for peace, but surely, however, there are mothers, fathers, and brothers and sisters throughout both Israel and America who are asking themselves how much more they must sacrifice; indeed when will they know peace? When Yasser Arafat tours his new domain, when he pays condolence calls on the families of suicide bombers, does he ask himself what kind of man boards a crowded bus with pounds of explosive, specially packed with shards of metal to cause the maximum carnage? Is Arafat willing himself to continue to be identified as the leader of such brutal men? If not, he must do more. Hamas and other such groups must be outlawed, and their members prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. For peace hangs in the balance. If Yasser Arafat expects Gaza and other areas under his control to be known as anything more than a breeding ground for terrorists, he must move swiftly, and decisively against the terrorists in his midst. Only then can mourning Americans and Israelis believe that peace has real meaning. Mr. PELL. Mr. President, I am pleased to join with the distinguished chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations--Senator Helms-- and others in submitting a resolution to condemn the recent terrorist attacks in Israel. I have not doubt that all of my colleagues were as stunned and dismayed as I to learn about the horrifying bombings. All too often in the past several years, we have been forced to watch the gut-wrenching pictures on CNN of the Chaos, carnage, and misery of yet another terrorist bombing in Israel. The frequency of these occurrences, however, does nothing to lessen their devastating impact. Each time a bombing occurs, the Israeli Government must reexamine its approach to security and its commitments to the Palestinians. The Israeli people again must come to grips with the fact that the peace has a heavy toll. The Palestinians must reaffirm that they are worthy of taking charge of their own destiny, and that they are living up to their commitments to end terrorism. And the United States must step back and ask yet again if we are doing the right thing. As painful as these realities are, we must not let them obscure our interests in the Middle East peace process. Having just led a congressional delegation on a trip to the region--where Senators, Robb, Inhofe, and I met with Prime Minister Peres and PLO Chairman Arafat among other--I have a renewed sense of the importance of the peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. We must also remember that the perpetrators of these heinous bombings are in fact the enemies of peace, and more to the point, the enemies of those Palestinians who have committed themselves to peace with Israel. My own hope is that the world--and specifically the parties to the peace process--will not let them succeed in destroying the peace. While we must indeed hold Arafat's feet to the fire, and insist that he do more to stop terrorist acts, we must acknowledge the progress that the Palestinians have made to stop violence and terror. Clearly they have not yet succeeded, but we should not minimize the improvements they have made since signing their peace agreements with Israel. Above all, this is a moment to commiserate with the families of the victims, to express our profound sorrow and regret to our ally, Israel, and to reaffirm our basic and fundamental commitment to the true success of the peace process. Our resolution intends to do just that, and I hope that the Senate will move to adopt the resolution as quickly as possible. Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to join with the leadership of the Foreign Relations Committee and of the Senate in cosponsoring Senate Resolution 228, a resolution condemning the recent terror attacks in Israel. The heinous attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkelon on February 25 killed 25 people and wounded dozens more. A radical, crazy minority opposed to the peace process which is supported by most Israelis and Arabs has again taken innocent lives. The perpetrators and their supporters must be brought to justice. Such cowardly attacks are always reprehensible. But these attacks truly brought home to us the horror of terrorism because the victims included two Americans, one of them from Connecticut. This is the second time in less than half a year that the hand of terrorism has struck someone from Connecticut. In this case, Matt Eisenfeld--a wonderful young man, committed to the peace process, a student of the bible, exemplary of the best traditions--was struck down by cowards planting a bomb on a bus. [[Page S1471]] I am in awe of the strength of the Eisenfeld family of West Hartford at such a difficult time. They have been true to their principles and true to their son's principles and continue to support the movement toward peace in spite of the awful loss they have suffered. Let us hope that people of similar strength and good will among the Palestinians and the Israeli population will not be distracted and deterred by these violent acts. Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise to condemn in the strongest possible terms this past Sunday's heinous bombings in Israel. I also wish to convey my heart-felt condolences to the families of the 23 Israelis and the 2 young Americans who lost their lives in these despicable acts. Mr. President, many of us are asking the same questions that Israelis are asking in the wake of these attacks: why and for what end would someone commit such senseless acts of mass murder? We probably never will be able to penetrate the demented mind of a suicide-bomber to understand what causes that person to kill. But I think we all know the immediate aim of the bombers who struck on Sunday--it is to spread fear and terror in order to derail the peace process. As hard as it is to comprehend, peace in the Middle East is actually perceived as a threat in some quarters. Coexistence, friendship, cooperation--all of these concepts are anathema to a small, extremist minority on both sides. And Mr. President, I would submit that the vast majority of Palestinians--which does believe in these concepts--needs to stand up now to prevent its future from being stolen by the extremists. These extremists offer a version of the future that includes a return to the darkest days of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Indeed, they see renewed conflict as a necessary means to achieve their ultimate goal of destroying Israel. Mr. President, if the Palestinians want a brighter future for their children--as I know they do--then they will need to stop these extremists in their tracks. We stand ready, and I know that Israel stands ready, to provide whatever help the Palestinians need to win this fight. But they must be the ones to initiate a new all-out battle with the violent rejectionists. Israelis have rejected the message and methods of extremists in their midst. Their democratically chosen institutions have been acting to thwart the designs of Israeli extremists. Recently, the Palestinians have acquired their own democratically chosen institutions. It is time for those new institutions to be put to the test by employing their full might in a battle whose outcome will be historic for the Palestinian people and the middle east as a whole. Mr. President, we cannot let Sunday's attackers achieve their goals. The peace process must continue. The two young American victims, Matthew Eisenfeld and Sarah Duker, whose future life together was so cruelly taken from them on Sunday, were committed to peace. We can best honor their memory by staying on the path that they had chosen. Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to; that the preamble be agreed to; that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; and that any statements relating to the resolution appear at the appropriate place in the Record. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. So the resolution (S. Res. 228) was agreed to. The preamble was agreed to. The resolution, with its preamble, is as follows: S. Res. 228 Whereas on February 25, 1996, two vicious terror attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkelon killed two American citizens and 23 Israelis, and wounded dozens more; Whereas the Gaza-headquartered terrorist organization ``Hamas'' claimed credit for the attack; Whereas in 1995, 47 innocent Israeli and American citizens were killed in Palestinian terror attacks; Whereas since the signing of the Declaration of Principles between Israel and the PLO on September 13, 1993, 168 people have been killed in terrorist acts, 163 Israelis and five American citizens; Whereas the Gaza-based ``Hamas'' terror group and Damascus- based Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror groups have claimed responsibility for the majority of those terror attacks; Whereas the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and Yasser Arafat have undertaken on repeated occasions to crack down on terror and bring to justice those in areas under their jurisdiction who commit acts of terror; Whereas notwithstanding such undertaking and some improvements in Palestinian efforts against terrorism, the vast majority of terror suspects have not been apprehended, or if apprehended, not tried or punished, and no terror suspects requested for transfer have been transferred to Israeli authorities by Palestinian authorities in direct contravention of agreements signed between the PLO and Israel; Whereas the governments of Iran, Syria and Lebanon continue to provide safe haven, financial support and arms to terror groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Hezbollah among others, and have in no way acted to restrain such groups from committing acts of terrorism; Whereas failure to act against terrorists by the Palestinian Authority, Syria and others can only undermine the credibility of the peace process: Now therefore be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) condemns and reviles in the strongest terms the attacks in Jerusalem and in Ashkelon; (2) extends condolences to the families of all those killed, and to the Government and all the people of the State of Israel; (3) calls upon the Palestinian Authority, the elected Palestinian Council and Chairman Arafat to act swiftly and decisively to apprehend the perpetrators of terror attacks, to do more to prevent such acts of terror in the future and to eschew all statements and gestures which signal tolerance for such acts and their perpetrators; (4) calls upon the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian representatives in the elected Council to take all possible action to eliminate terrorist activities by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and all other such terror groups; (5) urges all parties to the peace process, in order to retain the credibility of their commitment to peace, to bring to justice the perpetrators of acts of terrorism, and to cease harboring, financing and arming terror groups in all territories under their control; and (6) urges the Clinton administration to act decisively and swiftly against those who continue to harbor, arm or finance terror groups seeking to undermine the peace process. ____________________