Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 49, No. 32, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 10, 1995 Page: 3 of 24
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IN OUR 49TH YEAR/-THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 1995, TEXAS JEWISH POST
By Matthew Dorf
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Opponents of US. aid
to the Palestine Liberation Organization have all
but admitted defeat as Congress prepares to take
up legislation allowing millions of dollars to flow
to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.
The measure, which would extend the Middle
East Peace Facilitation Act for 18 months, has
widespread support in the U S. and Israeli admin-
istrations, in Congress and in the Jewish commu-
However, at least one influential senator is
threatening to hold up the legislation in the wake
of Monday s terrorist attack on an Israeli bus in a
suburb of Tel Aviv.
Such behavior should not be rewarded by the
US. Congress," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.),
co-chairman of the Peace Accord Monitoring
Group in the Senate,
Matthew Dorf is a TJP/JTA correspondent.
which was created to
assure Palestinian com-
pliance with the peace
Speculating that Arafat's
police force knew of the
plans for the bombing, ,
Specter called on Arafat to
share intelligence with the
Israeli government or risk
losing American foreign
“Before we extend the
Middle East Peace Facil-
itation Act. we must ,
decide whether the
Authority should be
entrusted with U.S. aid
if it is not fully comply-
ing with the agreements
already signed to pre-
vent terrorist acts such
as the one committed
today,” Specter said on
But observers believe
that the controversial legislation, which expired
June 30 and was extended for 45 days, will ulti-
mately pass Congress.
However, it is expected to encounter some road-
blocks along the way — unrelated to aid to the
PLO — as it becomes embroiled in disputes over
other foreign policy-related legislation.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee,
the pro-Israel lobby, has embraced the legislation
as “a realistic approach," said Neal Sher, the
group’s executive director.
Opponents, however, are disappointed.
“I’ve done all that I can," said an audibly frus-
trated Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist
Organization of America, who has led the charge
to cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority.
“With the State Department, White House,
AIPAC and two governments fighting for this,
there's not much we can do," Klein said, all but
admitting defeat in his crusade.
But Klein remained critical of the bill for not
holding the PLO to a tougher standard.
“A Mack truck could drive through the loop-
holes in this bill," he said.
The United States has pledged $500 million over
five years to the Palestinian Authority. About $100
million has already been delivered.
The legislation is necessary because congres-
sional action is required to waive laws that ban
American diplomatic contact with the PLO and
also prevent U.S. foreign assistance to the Pales-
The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Jesse Helms
(R N.C.) and Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.), differs from
the earlier Middle East Peace Facilitation Act in
that it is meant to tighten the restrictions and lead
to greater compliance on the part of the PLO.
Sen. Arlen Specter
Under the new plan, as with the old, the presi
dent must certify that the PLO is complying with
its accords with Israel and he must continue to
submit compliance reports to Congress every six
months in order for the Palestinians to receive
U.S. foreign aid.
Under the new version, however, in order for
the president to certify compliance, the PLO must
have taken the following steps: established a judi-
cial system, cooperated with Israel to pre-empt
terrorism and disarmed civilians not licensed to
As for the controversial item relating to the
PLO’s National Covenant, which calls for the
destruction of the state of Israel, the new legisla-
tion would not require the PLO to amend its
covenant until a Palestinian Council is seated after
elections in the territories.
The PLOs failure to amend its covenant, as
promised under its 1993
agreement with Israel,
has been a major rallying
cry for opponents of aid
to the PLO.
In negotiations be-
tween Israel and the PLO
earlier this month,
Arafat promised Israeli
Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres that within 60 days
of the Palestinian elec-
tions, he would move to
amend the covenant.
Specifics relating to
Palestinian elections are
among the issues cur-
rently being hammered
out by Israeli and Pales-
tinian negotiators, who
are working to conclude
an agreement that would
extend Palestinian self-
rule in the West Hank.
The Helms -Pell legis-
lation spells out the
PLO’s agreements with
Israel and calls on the
Palestinians to prevent acts of terrorism, take legal
measures against terrorists, abstain from incite-
ment and hostile propaganda, ban armed forces
other that the Palestinian police, ban the posses-
sion or sale of weapons and extradite criminals to
Co-sponsors of the legislation include Senate
Majority Leader Bob Dole (R Kan ), Minority
Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.), Dianne Fein-
stein (D-San Francisco), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky ), Connie Mack (R-Fla.)
and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.).
Although the timing of the legislation remains
uncertain, the likely scenario is that in the Senate,
Helms and Pell will offer the measure as an
amendment to the State Department Authoriza-
tion Bill as early as the end of this week.
If approved by the Senate, the House is expected
to vote on the measure as part of the House-Sen-
ate conference committee’s report on the State
Department bill, a version of which the House has
But President Clinton has vowed to veto the
Stale Department Authorization Bill, including
the provision on the Middle East Peace Facilita-
tion Act, unless it is drastically reshaped.
In a move that has drawn the ire of the White
House, the current legislation would fold three
foreign policy agencies into the State Department
— the Agency for International Development, the
United States Information Agency, and the Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency.
If Clinton vetoes the bill, Congress is expected
either to pass another short-term extension to
enable continuing aid to the PLO or to vote on the
Helms-Pell legislation as a separate piece of law.
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Wisch, J. A. & Wisch, Rene. Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 49, No. 32, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 10, 1995, newspaper, August 10, 1995; Fort Worth, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth755370/m1/3/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .