(Extensions of Remarks - March 27, 2017)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E392]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, March 27, 2017

  Mr. HASTINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a resolution 
Celebrating the Importance of the 15th Anniversary of the Arab Peace 
Initiative as a Meaningful Effort by Arab Countries to the Commitment 
of Peace in the Middle East.
  I recently travelled to Israel for the 18th time as a Member of 
Congress. While in Israel and Jordan, I attended a number of bilateral 
and multilateral meetings focused on security and the outlook for the 
region in the coming year. I always welcome these opportunities to meet 
with senior leaders on such a wide range of issues, and our 
conversations touched on political developments, regional security in 
the Middle East, the peace process, and strengthening the bilateral 
relationships between the United States and these nations.
  Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be a major 
challenge, I believe we must stay actively involved in peace 
negotiations. I am happy to say that recently, Israel and some Muslim-
majority Arab nations in the Middle East have made progress in regional 
cooperation. I believe that, using the Arab Peace Initiative as a 
baseline, these recent developments present a renewed opportunity for 
progress--one that we cannot afford to miss.
  Mr. Speaker, my resolution highlights the importance of the Arab 
Peace Initiative and urges the nations to continue the hard work of 
fostering stronger relationship. Under the right circumstances, the 
Arab Peace Initiative allows for gradual progress towards the 
normalization of bilateral relations between Israel and its neighbors. 
We all know that the relationship between America and Israel is 
paramount, and I have faith that, in time, the relationships between 
Israel and other nations will also strengthen. I commend the regional 
countries that have taken steps to facilitate the end of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, while simultaneously strengthening regional 
security through discussions with the State of Israel. I urge all 
parties to continue these important dialogues.
  I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the Hashemite 
Kingdom of Jordan's ascension to the Presidency of the Arab League. The 
United States established relations with Jordan in 1949 and our 
countries have a long history of cooperation. Jordan has taken on an 
important role in pursuing progress for the region. I congratulate my 
friend King Abdullah II and wish Jordan the very best as it assumes 
this new leadership role for the foreseeable future.
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this resolution today, and 
recommend its expeditious consideration and passage.