[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 146 (2000), Part 15]
[Pages 22562-22566]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

                           MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

                            A Country United

  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I want to take 5 minutes at this time to 
speak on the events occurring in the world today.
  I stand here with the melancholy that any Senator would feel as a 
result of the loss of lives of our U.S. military men and women due to a 
despicable act of terrorism.
  I say to the terrorists: You underestimate the United States. Right 
now we are in an orderly constitutional process to begin the transition 
of the executive branch to a new leader. Do not think because we are 
beginning a transition that we are weak.
  I say to the terrorists anywhere in the world: When any American is 
under attack, all Americans are under attack. We will check our party 
hats at the door. We will be united as one nation. I believe the 
Congress and the American people will stand as one behind President 
Clinton to aggressively pursue and punish the terrorists who have 
engaged in this despicable act. You might have gotten away with this 
one, but do not think again about the next hour, the next day, or the 
next week. The United States of America is coming after you, and we are 
all together on this.
  In addition, to our friends in the Middle East: We are deeply 
troubled by the violence that is ongoing. A peace agreement was within 
reach. Indeed, it was fragile. We say now, please, take a timeout, end 
the violence, let's step back to see if we cannot come forward under 
the leadership of the United States as an honest broker to move ahead. 
We are plunging into chaos. Chaos only means further retreat. It means 
that maybe for years violence will continue.
  We say: Please, Mr. Arafat, do not work behind the scenes; work on 
the front lines; end your violence.
  To the people of Israel: We know that the first act is the act of 
self-defense. We understand that. It is human. Please, we ask 
restraint, and we ask all to come back to the bargaining table. Let's 
put down the stones. Let's put down the guns. Let's see if we can move 
  I come back to what has occurred on the Senate floor today. I say to 
people around the world: This is democracy. Good people who have been 
good friends differ. We can conduct ourselves with civility. We can 
have intellectual arguments. We can quote our lawyers and our National 
Academy of Sciences, and so on. Ultimately, the Congress will work its 
will. This is democracy. We invite the whole world to participate in 
it. War only leads to more war. Violence only leads to more violence. 
But democracy leads to more democracy, and democracy means ultimately 
peace and prosperity.
  We invite the world: Please, constitutional governments, treaties, 
rules of law are what this 21st century should be all about.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I thank my distinguished colleague for her 
very eloquent statement. I know she and others and all of us extend our 
deepest sympathies to the families, the loved ones of those sailors who 
were killed in the cowardly act in the Gulf of Aden today. The cause of 
peace and international security is one that is worth a major effort, 
and it is not without sacrifices, as we saw today.
  I share the concerns and I share the strong commitment that we shall 
do everything in our power to identify the people behind this cowardly 
deed and take appropriate responsive action. We do not intend as a 
democracy committed to freedom and human rights to be deterred from our 
continuing efforts by these acts of terrorism. These do nothing but 
bring sorrow and heartache to the families and loved ones left behind, 
and they strengthen the will of the rest of us to say that we will not 
bow to the terrorists acts. They will not deter us. They only 
strengthen us not only in our prayers for those who have given the 
ultimate sacrifice but in our commitment to ensure it does not deter 
our activities.

              A Tragic Act of Terrorism on the U.s.s. Cole

  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, we are all now aware of a terrible 
tragedy, an act of despicable terrorism has taken place on the U.S.S. 
Cole and American lives have been lost.
  All of us are appalled. On behalf of all of us, our thoughts and 
prayers go out to the family members of those on the U.S.S. Cole. We 
hope we can get all the information as quickly as possible.
  The United States has the ability to find out who perpetrated this 
outrage. We will find those people. There will be a heavy price to pay. 
We cannot allow these kinds of acts of terror to take place. I am 
confident the President of the United States will ascertain who these 
individuals and organizations are, and the heaviest price must be paid 
for this outrage. In the meantime, our thoughts, hopes, and prayers go 
out to those who were injured, those missing in action, and those 
killed in this tragedy.


  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, first, let me concur with the remarks of my 
colleague, Senator McCain. I join him in expressing concern for those 
families who have lost Americans in connection with the terrorist 
attack on the U.S.S. Cole.
  I call upon my colleagues who are holding up my antiterrorism 
legislation to stop holding up this important piece of legislation and 
allow us to get it passed this year and sent to the President for his 
signature. The National Terrorism Commission made some very important 
recommendations about how we should deal with terrorists attacks, and 
the only response has been the legislation that Senator Feinstein and I 
have proposed. I hope those who are holding this legislation as a 
result of this attack will recognize we

[[Page 22563]]

can't wait for the next terrorism attack. We need to act now.

                          Middle East Tensions

  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, my heart is so heavy this morning as we 
learn of the increasing tensions in the Middle East.
  I join my friend from Arizona, Senator Kyl, in expressing our 
condolences to those American families who are grieving at the loss of 
their children by an unprovoked attack on one of our ships off the 
coast of Yemen. We are not exactly sure who did this. We suspect that 
it was terrorism.
  But, as Senator McCain said on one of the shows this morning as I 
listened to him, we will find out, and we will respond. The world 
should make no mistake about that.
  This morning I also want to call on Yasser Arafat to take control of 
the situation in the Middle East. There has been an incident where four 
Israeli soldiers were in Ramallah--the Israelis say that they had taken 
a wrong turn. They certainly weren't provoking anything. They were 
captured, and taken to the Palestinian authorities and to a detention 
center. Then a mob overtook the center and killed at least two of them. 
The reports vary. One report I heard said there was a lynching. I don't 
know that is accurate, but one report said that. You have now no rule 
of law. It is very difficult to negotiate a peace agreement when there 
is no rule of law on one side of the equation.
  I had been closely following this. I was very hopeful yesterday. 
Things looked as if they were going in a better direction. The word was 
that Yasser Arafat was, in fact, calming his people down. But it is 
time for him to do this now publicly. It is one thing to quietly work 
behind the scenes; it is another thing to come out publicly and say 
enough of mob rule.
  As I say, I come here with a very heavy heart, but always hopeful 
that the goodness in people will overcome everything else.
  My heart is with the American families who will be grieving. My heart 
is with all the families in the Middle East who are suffering so much.
  I believe Dwight Eisenhower once said--I may stand corrected--that 
people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better 
get out of the way and let them have it. I think people want peace. The 
vast majority of people want peace. How tragic it is that we can't seem 
to grasp that.
  I praise President Clinton and Vice President Gore for doing 
everything they can. I give them my best. I offer myself as someone who 
will do what I can. I am on the Foreign Relations Committee. This is an 
area that we know is always a tinderbox. Yet we have faith that the 
peace process can get back on track.

                Breakdown of Camp David Peace Proposals

  Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, the news from the Middle East is deeply 
painful to all who pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Three months ago at 
Camp David the State of Israel offered the Palestine Authority 
unprecedented concessions in an effort to end the cycle of violence and 
hatred. The rejection of these proposals has tragically led to the loss 
of numerous lives and the resumption of the cycle of violence and 
hatred. Our Government must tell the Palestinian leadership that the 
destruction of holy sites and mob violence have no place in civilized 

                       Events in the Middle East

  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I rise to offer my sincere condolences 
to the families of the U.S. Navy personnel killed in what appears to 
have been a terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and to express my 
outrage at this cowardly act of murder. This deplorable incident is a 
tragic reminder of the risk and sacrifice assumed by all of our men and 
women in uniform, and by their families. I know that the administration 
will be using all of the resources at its disposal to discern who is 
responsible for the attack, and that the U.S. will resolutely take 
appropriate action in response to this incident.
  My certainty about that last point is based on a simple and 
irrefutable truth. No country would stand by while its soldiers and 
sailors are targeted and killed. The U.S. will certainly not stand for 
it and will not be intimidated in the wake of the cowardly attack on 
the Cole. By the same token, it should surprise no one that Israel 
retaliated in response to the brutal murder of Israeli soldiers at the 
hands of a mob in Ramallah.
  But as difficult as it is, as raw as emotions are right now, we 
cannot afford to lose sight of one fundamental fact. All of us--we 
Americans, the rest of the international community, the Israelis and 
the Palestinians--know that there is no military solution to the 
terribly difficult issues that have made the Middle East a region of 
tension and violence for far too long. In recent days the promise of 
peace has been obscured by terrible violence in Jerusalem and 
elsewhere. Nearly 100 lives have been lost, including the lives of 
children. For the Israeli and Palestinian children who remain, in the 
name of providing them a future free from these horrors, I hope that 
the Israeli and Palestinian people will find the courage and the 
strength to stop the violence, and that they will find their way back 
on a path toward peace.

                          situation in israel

  Mr. MACK. Mr. President, the United States commitment to Israel is 
strong. It has stood the test of time, and has only strengthened. It is 
strong because it is grounded in our shared principles of freedom and 
democracy. It is also strong because we respect and appreciate Israel's 
commitment to preserve and protect those religious sites considered by 
all people of the world to be holy.
  I am very disturbed over recent events in the Middle East. America's 
response to Israel must be clear and reflect our total support. What we 
are witnessing is not, as it is often called, an ``outbreak of 
violence.'' What we are witnessing is a concerted attack against 
Israel; and this is occurring on the heels of the Israeli government 
taking the most conciliatory stance ever toward the Palestinians.
  After the Camp David summit, President Clinton correctly blamed 
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassir Arafat for rejecting the 
compromises that Israel was willing to consider. Since Camp David, 
Arafat has compounded his rejection of peace proposals with an embrace 
of violence. The United States must maintain its pressure on Arafat and 
the Palestinian leadership, and avoid retreating into the moral swamp 
of ``evenhandedness.'' We must stand with Israel.
  I am deeply disappointed in the shameful U.S. abstention on a UN 
Security Council resolution that our own ambassador called 
``unbalanced, biased, and really a lousy piece of work.''
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Jerusalem Post 
editorial of October 10, 2000 be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

    [From the Jerusalem Post News & Feature Service, Oct. 10, 2000]

                          Betrayal At The U.N.


       The United States made a grave mistake in failing to veto 
     what Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called a ``one-
     sided'' U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel. 
     The U.S. abstention was a mistake, despite the three 
     seemingly cogent arguments used to explain it: that a worse 
     resolution was blocked, that Israel was consulted all along, 
     and that ``U.S. interests'' dictated the move.
       The U.N. resolution deplored ``the provocation carried out 
     at al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, and 
     the subsequent violence there and at other holy places, as 
     well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by 
     Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths 
     and many other casualties.'' The resolution, which passed 14 
     to 0 with the U.S. abstaining, also condemned ``acts of 
     violence, especially the excessive use of force against 
     Palestinians.'' An innocent observer reading the resolution 
     might reasonably conclude the Palestinians were quietly 
     minding their own business when, out of the blue, Israeli 
     forces decided to throw seven years of talks out the window 
     and attack their negotiating partners. The opposite is the 
       After weeks of official Palestinian broadcasts encouraging 
     violence and lionizing martyrs, and after attacks against 
     Israelis in which both soldiers and civilians were killed, 
     Yasser Arafat took advantage of Likud leader Ariel Sharon's 
     visit to the Temple Mount to turn the flames on full burner.
       In any case, the twisted nature of the resolution is not at 
     issue--U.S. Ambassador to

[[Page 22564]]

     the United Nations Richard Holbrooke called it ``unbalanced, 
     biased, and really a lousy piece of work.'' This recognition 
     begs the question, which was leveled at Albright and 
     Holbrooke repeatedly over the weekend: If the resolution was 
     so lousy, why did the U.S. not exercise its right to veto?
       Standard answer No. 1--that a worse resolution was 
     blocked--does not wash, because it is a truism. The Arab 
     lobby at the United Nations always asks for the moon, in the 
     hopes of passing a slightly less outrageous version after 
     negotiations. According to Holbrooke, the U.S. would have 
     vetoed an ``operational'' resolution, but it could oppose 
     what was watered down to ``just empty rhetoric.'' Far from 
     ``empty,'' the Security Council resolution was exactly what 
     Arafat needed: an international judgment saddling the blame 
     for his attack against Israel squarely on Israel's shoulders. 
     Now the international commission of inquiry that Arafat 
     fought for in Paris is redundant. The inquiry is over and the 
     verdict is in: Israel is guilty.
       The next line of defense used by Albright and Holbrooke was 
     that Israel was closely consulted and ``understood'' the U.S. 
     position. That the Israeli government ``understood'' this 
     failure of American will and judgment is itself unfortunate, 
     but in no way excuses U.S. behavior.
       Having taken every ``risk for peace'' expected by the U.S. 
     and more, Israel is now a victim of U.S. weakness, even 
     betrayal. As a tactical matter, Israel may have had to choose 
     its battles with the U.S., and therefore decided not to more 
     openly resist the U.S. position. But an Israel under siege 
     should not have been forced into giving the U.S. a pass in 
     the Security Council, one of the few arenas where the U.S. 
     has a decisive voice.
       Albright argues that ``our role in the Middle East is to 
     try to be the negotiator, the mediator, the honest broker.'' 
     Could Albright mean that the U.S. must be an `honest broker' 
     in the face of a wholesale attack by the party that has 
     rejected their peace proposals on the party that accepted 
     them? An ``honest broker'' that cannot differentiate between 
     aggressor and victim is not doing the peace process any 
     favors. An ``honest broker'' role makes sense in the context 
     of negotiations, not when the negotiating track has been 
     unilaterally tossed out the window by one party.
       Finally, Albright alludes to America's ``larger 
     responsibilities within the whole region''' in explaining the 
     U.S. abstention. This is veiled allusion to the risk of riots 
     against American embassies and relations with the Arab world, 
     but again the logic is backwards and dangerous.
       A U.S. veto would have signaled to Arafat and the Arab 
     world that this round of blaming the victim is over. Now 
     Arafat, Hizbullah, Saddam Hussein (who just called again for 
     Israel's destruction), and anyone else who wants to jump on 
     the absurd bandwagon that Israel is threatening al-Aksa 
     Mosque can see that Israel's great ally, the United States, 
     is unwilling to come to her defense. This can only be bad for 
     Israel, bad for the United States, and bad for peace.

  Mr. MACK. Mr. President, we must speak the truth and stand on 
principle, so that Arafat cannot continue blaming Israel for the 
completely unjustified attack that he initiated. There is a word for a 
policy of rewarding violence, and that word is ``appeasement.''
  Appeasement is not just wrong; it also does not work. Events of 
recent days have led many Israelis to conclude that their government's 
generosity toward the Palestinians has--far from being reciprocated--
been taken as weakness and invited the beating of war drums against 
Israel throughout the Arab world.
  As Israel begins to rethink its course, the United States must not 
push Israel towards appeasement. We must help Israel find the strength 
to stand up to aggression and continue the principled fight for 
  As citizens of a democracy that desperately wants peace, Israelis are 
as pained as anyone by the heart-wrenching pictures of Palestinian 
children caught in the crossfire. Israel can be counted on to search 
its soul as to whether she could have defended herself and claimed 
fewer Palestinian casualties. The result of such an inquiry, however, 
will not shift the overarching burden of responsibility from the party 
that chose to abandon the negotiating table and open a shooting war--
Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the article by Natan 
Sharansky in today's Washington Post appear in the Record immediately 
following my statement.
  Now is the time for us to publicly reaffirm our commitment to the 
freedom-seeking people of Israel. During Israel's time of need, we know 
that they will make the right choices--take the right actions for peace 
with freedom. And we will stand with Israel.

               [From the Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2000]

                          Afraid of the Truth

                          (By Natan Sharansky)

       Jerusalem.--Nearly 20 years ago, confined to an eight-by-
     ten cell in a prison on the border of Siberia, I was granted 
     by my Soviet jailers the ``privilege'' of reading the latest 
     copy of Pravda, official mouthpiece of the Communist regime. 
     Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of Ronald 
     Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an 
     ``evil empire.''
       Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, prisoners 
     quickly spread the word of Reagan's ``provocation'' 
     throughout the prison. The dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, 
     the leader of the free world had spoken the truth--a truth 
     that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.
       For decades, with few exceptions, the moral authority of 
     the Soviet Union had rarely been challenged. Some, 
     particularly those who saw in communism's egalitarian ideals 
     the antidote to all the ills of capitalism and democracy, 
     were simply duped by a totalitarian society that could so 
     easily manipulate the picture it presented to the outside 
       But sadly, most were not blind to the truth--they were just 
     frightened by it. They understood what the Soviet Union 
     represented but, knowing the price of confrontation, 
     preferred to close their eyes to it. Rationalizing their 
     cowardice with morally comforting words such as ``peace'' and 
     ``co-existence,'' they pursued the path of appeasement.
       Today the nations of the free world also prefer to close 
     their eyes to the truth in the Middle East in general and the 
     Arab-Israeli conflict in particular. While in practice the 
     Arab states do not pose the threat of a belligerent 
     superpower, the West's attitude toward these authoritarian 
     regimes is all too familiar. Some, who see Palestinian stone 
     throwers as David to Israel's Goliath, are again duped by the 
     manipulations of a brutal dictator who sends children to the 
     front lines to achieve through tragedy what he cannot achieve 
     through diplomacy.
       But most people are not so easily duped. They simply choose 
     to blindfold themselves rather than confront a discomforting 
     truth. Instead of pressuring Arab tyrants to free their own 
     peoples from the yoke of oppression, the West prefers to view 
     them as a ``stabilizing'' force.
       When the peace process began, Israel and the West had a 
     remarkable opportunity to use their influence to ensure that 
     the emerging Palestinian society could evolve into a liberal, 
     democratic state. Instead they spent the better part of 10 
     years subsidizing tyranny.
       The goal was to strengthen Yasser Arafat and his PLO, 
     supposedly a force for modernization and compromise. With his 
     40,000-man armed police force, Arafat was supposed to serve 
     as Israel's proxy in the war on terror, and would do it, as 
     the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin said, ``without a 
     Supreme Court, without human rights organizations and without 
     bleeding-heart liberals.''
       This policy, support by the West, was not designed to solve 
     a genuine Palestinian human rights problem but to export it.
       In the past two weeks we have seen the consequences of this 
     folly. The man who promised at Oslo to renounce the violent 
     struggle against the Jewish state once again uses violence as 
     an instrument of negotiation. His police have turned their 
     guns against the state that armed them, while his kangaroo 
     courts have released dozens of Hamas terrorists drenched with 
     the blood of his ``partner'' in peace.
       Needing an external enemy to justify internal repression, 
     he continues to incite against Israel. With new textbooks 
     depicting a map of Palestine that stretches from the 
     Mediterranean to the Dead Sea but does not include a Jewish 
     state, he is educating the next generation of Palestinians 
     that they will soon take up arms in a holy jihad.
       In response to all this, the world can summon sufficient 
     courage only to condemn a democratic Israel for defending 
     itself against enemies within and without who seek its 
     destruction. It is assailed for provoking the Palestinians by 
     visiting our people's holiest site, when the real provocation 
     is not our sovereignty over a Temple Mount that is the soul 
     of the Jewish people but our sovereignty, period.
       No doubt a government that is prepared to make far-reaching 
     and dangerous concessions will soon be pressed to make more, 
     so that the free states can remain safely behind their 
     blindfolds. The only free state in this vast region to 
     tyranny will be asked to concede more in the name of 
     ``peace'' and ``coexistence'' to an Arab world that wants 
     nothing of the sort.
       Thirty years ago, Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson of 
     Washington state courageously stood against the bipartisan 
     forces of appeasement and issued a moral challenge to an 
     immoral state. By speaking the same truth a decade later, 
     Republican President Ronald Reagan helped free hundreds of 
     millions of people around the world, and sparked a democratic 
     flame that continues to engulf and threaten tyrannies. Who 
     will speak the truth today and allow freedom to reach this

[[Page 22565]]

     region where only one nation carries its torch?
       The writer, a former Soviet dissident, is a member of the 
     Israeli parliament and formerly served as interior minister 
     in the Barak government.

                      current situation in israel

  Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, over the past two weeks, the Middle East 
has been in a state of grave turmoil and violence. With almost 100 
people reported dead, Israel is dangerously close to internal war 
between the Jews and Palestinians. Even this morning, two Israeli 
soldiers were brutally murdered in Ramallah in connection with this 
ongoing violence. Although there are some reports of a decrease in 
violence, this conflict demonstrates how complex and difficult it will 
be to have real peace for the people of the Middle East.
  Throughout the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and even Arab towns inside 
Israel proper, Palestinians have taken to the streets. They are 
demanding Israeli capitulation and withdrawal of Israel troops from 
Arab regions. Although the Palestinian Authority has claimed that the 
flashpoint for the violence was a visit to the Temple Mount by Israeli 
political leader Ariel Sharon, the violence's widespread and intense 
nature of the violence, along with Palestinian reaction, indicates that 
the violence may not be a simple and uncoordinated reaction.
  Since the initial incident, the violence has rapidly spread with 
incredible fervor. According to published reports, ``The internal riots 
stunned Israeli police officials by their size and intensity.'' A 
simple incident was radically and almost instantaneously transformed 
into a dire situation that threatens the entire Middle East peace 
process. Although this outrageous reaction may appear isolated, Mr. 
Arafat has threatened over the years to cross out the peace accords and 
unleash a new uprising against Israel. He has often described the peace 
accords as simply a temporary truce.
  Mr. Arafat's response to the recent situation raises many concerns. 
It appears he has done little to nothing to quell the violence. The 
Palestinian Authority's official media arm, the Palestinian 
Broadcasting Corporation, has consistently broadcast incitement against 
Israel, including a children's program where martyrdom as ``suicide 
warriors'' is glorified. Palestinian television is also running a story 
about an alleged brutal killing of a Palestinian by Jewish settlers. 
The audience is told that the 40-year-old man's skull was crushed, his 
bones broken and his body burned by the settlers. Pictures of a charred 
and mutilated body are being used continually to incite already 
combative protesters and mourners. Although Israeli officials have 
stated that the man, Isam Hamad, 36, died in a car crash north of 
Ramallah and that the Palestinians chose to exploit the terrible 
condition of his body, Palestinian officials have refused to 
investigate the real cause of death and instead some have stated that 
the killing justifies an ``open season on settlers.''
  Hassan Asfour, a Palestinian cabinet minister, told the Reuters News 
Service that, ``The settlers must now be a target by every Palestinian 
in order to stop their terrorism and they must be uprooted from our 
Palestinian occupied lands.'' These are not the words of a leadership 
that wants peace.
  Mr. President, we must continually remember that Israel is in one of 
the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world. Since the 
beginning of the Oslo process in 1993, Israel has lost more than 280 of 
its citizens to terrorist violence (a portion of the Israeli population 
comparable to 15,000 Americans) in over 1,000 terrorist attacks. That 
death toll is worse than in the 15 years prior to Oslo. Rather than 
eradicate terrorist infrastructure in Palestinian territory, the 
Palestinian Authority apparently has maintained its revolving door 
policy in detaining terrorists. Over 20 prominent terrorists have been 
released since President Clinton's visit to Gaza in December 1998. 
Israeli reaction to violence must be seen in this context.
  During this current situation, President Clinton has failed to stand 
firm with our long-time friend and ally, Israel. Although I appreciate 
the President's interest in bringing about peace in the Middle East, 
his desire to play the role of the ``honest broker'' is sadly 
misguided. Until Mr. Arafat begins to demonstrate otherwise, it appears 
clear that the Palestinian Authority is simply not an ``honest 
  Mr. President, it is time to stand with Israel in the effort to find 
real and lasting peace. We must continue to work with our friends and 
allies around the world, including moderate Arab countries, to bring 
the Palestinian Authority into line with appropriate international 
behavior that will contribute to the process of peace, not to war. I 
call on Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat to honestly work 
towards an end to this latest violence and come back to the negotiating 
table with the goal of reaching a workable and lasting peace.

                          middle east tragedy

  Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, there is a tragedy ongoing in the 
Middle East, and the first thing I want to do is express heartfelt 
sorrow for the families of those who have lost their lives.
  The events of the last two weeks are deeply disturbing, and the clear 
first step is to find a way to calm the violence. The onus is on Yasser 
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to call a cease fire. If the 
Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people are in the midst of a 
quest for a state, and are trying to prove they have the maturity to 
lead more than a terrorist organization, the moment of truth has come 
and gone. What many have long suspected about the Palestinian 
leadership is being confirmed: They are not committed to peace, they 
are committed to victory.
  Unfortunately, the reaction of the international community to the 
violence in the Middle East has only emboldened Yasser Arafat. For 
proof we need look no further than the one-sided, dishonest U.N. 
Security Council resolution that passed last weekend. The resolution 
ignores the role of the Palestinians in the violence now taking place. 
It unfairly blames Israel for sparking the violence, forgetting that it 
is the right of any person of any religion to visit the Temple Mount. 
The United States' failure to veto this resolution is an 
embarrassment--a sell-out of our friends, a sell-out of the peace 
  Arfat insists on an international inquiry into the violence before he 
will call for its cessation. But is it any wonder that Prime Minister 
Barak is reluctant to accept such an inquiry when the international 
community has ranged itself so clearly on one side. Condemn first and 
ask questions later.
  The actions of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority on the question 
of treatment of holy sites are equally troubling. First, the use of 
Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount and the use of that holy site 
to incite violence: How can we believe any commitment to allow access 
to all people of all faiths when the Palestinians believe it is their 
right to sow mayhem after one visit?
  Second, the sacking of Joseph's Tomb. Palestinian police stood by as 
a mob of Palestinians destroyed Joseph's tomb in Nablus--a location 
from which Israeli forces had retreated in an attempt to calm the 
situation. They ripped apart Torah scrolls and desecrated a holy place. 
I have heard it said that the authenticity of the site has been 
questioned. I can just picture the mob looking for that certificate of 
authenticity before they went ahead and destroyed a holy book of the 
  There is no excuse--no excuse--for the behavior of the Palestinians 
or their leadership. Prime Minister Barak has offered concessions 
previously through taboo by most Israelis. Chairman Arafat has 
responded by demanding yet more and using violence to get it when 
negotiations failed. He has broken every agreement made in the past 
months and years, and has released dozens of notorious Hamas and 
Islamic Jihad terrorists in recent days. Perhaps Israel's intensified 
reaction following the mob killing of three Israeli soldiers will 
convince Arafat that he cannot win with violence. But I wonder.
  And for the United States, being an honest broker does not necesitate 

[[Page 22566]]

staying neutral. It should mean embracing a policy of honesty and 
telling one side when enough is enough. Instead, the Clinton-Gore 
Administration has shied away from the kind of frankness needed from 
our nation, and has stood aside in the face of an international 
political assault on our most important friend in the Middle East.
  That lack of resolve is noticed. It has been noticed by those who 
defy sanctions on Iraq. It has been noticed by the Palestinians. And it 
was surely noticed by those who attacked the U.S.S.Cole and murdered 
six, maybe more American servicemen. When will this nation show the 
resolve needed to crush the cowards and criminals who threaten us and 
our allies?
  I hope that the diplomatic efforts underway can lead to a calming of 
the situation and that the future will see a lasting peace between 
Israel and the Palestinians. However, for this peace to be truly 
lasting--and truly be peace--it must come when the parties are ready, 
on a timetable agreed by them. More important, it can only come when 
the Palestinians are ready to take upon themselves the mantle of 
nationhood and abandon their legacy of terrorism. And finally, peace 
will come when those who stand with the United States know that they 
have a forthright and loyal ally and those who stand against us fear 
our resolve.