[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 127 (Thursday, October 12, 2000)]
[Page H9867]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         TERRORISM AND VIOLENCE

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, the news in the Middle East today is 
unfortunately not very good news. The attack on the U.S.S. Cole reminds 
us as Americans once again how terrorism can rear its ugly head at any 
time at any place. The events during the past several days in the 
Middle East and in Israel and the West Bank show us again that 
terrorism and violence is just right around the corner.
  Only a few months ago, Mr. Speaker, the Israeli government 
demonstrated the willingness to make sweeping concessions at Camp 
David. Unfortunately, Mr. Arafat rejected it. When we talk about the 
peace process and we talk about partners for peace, we have to 
understand that it takes two to tango. We cannot have peace if only one 
side is making concessions and the other side continues to hang on to 
its strident demands.
  In fact, during the entire process at Camp David, which lasted many, 
many days, Mr. Barak, the prime minister of Israel, made concessions 
that no one would have dreamed that any Israeli government or prime 
minister could have made even a year ago, 6 months ago. He made those 
concessions; but Mr. Arafat, particularly with Jerusalem but other 
things as well, stuck to his hard demands.

                              {time}  1730

  The Palestinian leadership rejected compromise. They showed that they 
are only interested in peace on their terms. Again, a peace can only be 
achieved if both parties are willing to negotiate and both parties are 
willing to compromise.
  The violent Palestinian riots we are witnessing today and for the 
past several days, in my opinion, result directly from the fact that 
Yasir Arafat did not prepare his people for peace. In fact, Arafat 
tries to skillfully use the pale of terrorism as a negotiating tool, 
playing the classic good guy-bad guy routine.
  As Mr. Barak was restraining the expectations of his people, 
preparing the Israeli people for compromise, Arafat was pumping up the 
Palestinian demands and preparing them for conflict. If one does not 
prepare one's people by telling them that they will have to compromise 
to get a peace, then expectations are raised and a compromise is not 
able to be gotten. So today, unfortunately, we must say that Yasir 
Arafat has not been and is not a partner for peace.
  Mr. Speaker, I just watched Prime Minister Barak speak live on CNN. 
Once again, he declared his willingness to make peace, but he 
rightfully said that his nation, Israel, will do everything in its 
power to protect its people. Israel needs a partner for peace, a 
partner that does not engage and incite into violence; one that does 
not look the other way when there are people that are destroying 
ancient religious shrines in Nablus; one that does not allow their 
people to beat innocent Israelis to death, as happened this morning in 
Ramallah; and one that does everything in its power to set the 
conditions for peace.
  The underlying basis for negotiations was the recognition of the PLO 
by Israel in exchange for the renunciation of violence by the PLO and 
Chairman Arafat.
  In his September 9, 1993 letter for the late Prime Minister Rabin, 
Chairman Arafat ``renounced the use of terrorism and other acts of 
violence'' and pledged to ``prevent violence and discipline 
violators.'' Unfortunately, 7 years later, this has not happened.
  Unless the Palestinian leader calls on his people to halt their 
fanatical, hostile public violence and directs the security services to 
maintain order, as he promised, the Palestinians will be in violation 
of, not only the text of the peace agreements, but the basic 
understanding which underlay the process.
  Furthermore, as the Palestinian rock and molotov cocktail throwers 
and gunmen continue to rage, Israel will be within its rights as a 
sovereign nation to take whatever actions it needs to protect its 
people and frontiers.
  Now, there is a moral imperative to stand our ground. Israel is not 
only our closest friend and ally in the Middle East, they are in the 
right. Israel has demonstrated its willingness to make peace and is now 
under attack by thousands of violent rioters. It is time for Congress 
to express its solidarity with the people of Israel and stand with them 
at this crucial time.
  We must condemn the Palestinian leadership for its cowardly 
encouragement of mass riots and for doing so little to halt the 
hysterical rampagers.
  We must demand that Arafat and his lieutenants use their security 
services to restrain unnecessary acts of violence, show respect for our 
holy sites, and settle grievances only through negotiations.
  In the days to come, I expect new challenges to our U.S. policy; and 
I suspect we will arise to the occasion.