Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Congressional Impact AIPAC Activists to Press for Tough Iran Sanctions, Aid to Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Congressional Impact AIPAC Activists to Press for Tough Iran Sanctions, Aid to Israel

Source: AIPAC, 3-6-12

In a resounding show of support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, thousands of AIPAC activists from all 50 states will ascend Capitol Hill today to conduct more than 500 lobbying meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

At the top of the agenda will be stopping Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. AIPAC activists will encourage their representatives to support resolutions in the House and Senate (H. Res. 568 and S. Res. 380) affirming that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and opposing any reliance on a policy seeking to contain a nuclear-capable Iran.

The Senate resolution is being led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Robert Casey (D-PA). The House resolution was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA).

Similarly, delegates will urge senators to support the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 (S. 2101), which would escalate the level of sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law. The measure was introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).

AIPAC activists will also urge lawmakers to support the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which House and Senate members plan to introduce in the coming days. The legislation is expected to recommend several ways to strengthen U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation in such fields as missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence and cyber-security.

The House version of the bill is being led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), while the Senate legislation is being spearheaded by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Finally, the AIPAC citizen-lobbyists will be asking their representatives to support $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget. The aid request reflects the fifth year of the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, signed in 2007 and beginning in 2009, which called for a gradual increase in U.S. security assistance to the Jewish state in order to meet growing regional threats.

Israel Political Brief October 3, 2011: US House committee chair places hold on Palestinian aid

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

House committee chair places hold on Palestinian aid

Source: JTA, 10-3-11

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is holding back nearly $200 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is keeping her House of Representatives committee from considering approval of $192 million in humanitarian program assistance, two Capitol Hill sources said.

The money is separate from assistance to the Palestinian Authority, $200 million of which has already been distributed, and instead is earmarked for nongovernmental groups.

Such holds on NGO money have been held in the past pending oversight to show that the NGOs are not working with terrorist groups. Ros-Lehtinen in recent weeks has expressed concern that a tentative agreement to unite the Palestinian Authority with Hamas is already in effect. Hamas is the U.S.-designated terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

The Americans for Peace Now website is reporting that other House Republicans also are holding the money, and that Republicans in the House and Senate are holding $150 million in security assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

Republicans and Democrats have warned that such money may be withheld if the Palestinians do not pull back from their attempt to gain statehood recognition through the United Nations and absent peace talks with Israel.

The Arab League on Sunday called on the Arab states in the region to replace that missing aid with their own donations.

“The Arabs will assist the Palestinian Authority,” Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi said Sunday in Cairo after a meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “This will be the strongest answer” to the U.S. cuts.

Erekat said that “The Palestinian people refuse to allow economic aid to become an instrument of blackmail regarding its rights to membership of the United Nations.”

The U.N.’s Security Council is now considering the PA’s statehood bid, which the United States has said it will veto.

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