Back to Top

Monday November 19, 2012

The US Senate On Gaza: 2009 vs. 2012

Posted by Samer Araabi at 2:06 pm

Last Friday, Lara Friedman, the Director of Policy and Government Relations for Americans for Peace Now, published an article about how the Senate’s resolutions on Gaza have changed in the past 3 years.

She notes that, unlike the version passed during 2009’s Operation Cast Lead, the Senate resolution passed last week “contains no mention of any aspiration to see hostilities end and includes no exhortation for the President to in any way to engage to try to calm the violence or bring about a ceasefire. “

Furthermore, it  “doesn't even pay lip service to, or offer even canned language feigning concern for, civilian life on both sides—or even on either side. This is bizarre, given that innocent civilians, including children, have already been killed and injured on both sides, and these numbers are almost certain to grow.”

Even in light of the Obama administration’s one-sided response to the assault on Gaza, these omissions are deeply troubling if they were in fact purposive. Friedman also responds to the suggestion “that these omissions weren’t deliberate. This suggestion hits a wall, however, given that much of the Gillibrand-Kirk text appears to be drawn directly from S. Res. 10. Indeed, Gillibrand and Kirk include in their resolution a “resolved” clause clearly drawn from the clause in S. Res. 10 dealing with a ceasefire, but with the language about a ceasefire (and about improving the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza) cut out.”

I’ve created a mash-up of the two senate resolutions, S.RES. 10 drafted in 2009, and S.RES. 599 which passed unanimously last Friday. Red indicates language from 2009 that was removed, and bold indicates added language that is new to the 2012 resolution.

See below and judge for yourselves:

 

S.RES. 10: A resolution recognizing the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

S.RES. 599: A resolution expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizing and strongly supporting its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.

 

Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;

Whereas Hamas has been designated by the Secretary of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization;

Whereas Hamas has refused to comply with the requirements of the Quartet (the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations) that Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;

Whereas, in June 2006, Hamas crossed into Israel, attacked Israeli forces and kidnapped Corporal Gilad Shalit, whom they continue to hold today;

Whereas Hamas has launched thousands of rockets and missiles since Israel dismantled settlements and withdrew from Gaza in 2005;

Whereas terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year, an increase from roughly 675 attacks in 2011 and 350 in 2010;

Whereas Hamas has increased the range of its rockets, reportedly with support from Iran and others, putting additional large numbers of Israelis in danger of rocket attacks from Gaza;

Whereas Hamas locates elements of its terrorist infrastructure in civilian population centers, thus using innocent civilians as human shields;

[Several quotes from 2009 from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert]

Whereas the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including shortages of food, water, electricity, and adequate medical care, is becoming more acute;

Whereas Israel has facilitated humanitarian aid to Gaza with over 500 trucks and numerous ambulances entering the Gaza Strip since December 26, 2008;

[Another quote from Secretary Rice from 2009]; and

Whereas the ultimate goal of the United States is a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will allow for a viable and independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel, which will not be possible as long as Israeli civilians are under threat from within Gaza:

Whereas, on November 14, 2012, President Barack Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel's right to self-defense; and

Whereas Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self defense in the face of terrorist attacks: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) expresses vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;

(2) reiterates that Hamas must end the Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;

(3) urges the United Nations Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and

(4) encourages the President to work actively to support a durable, enforceable, and sustainable cease-fire in Gaza, as soon as possible, that prevents continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel and allows for the long term improvement of daily living conditions for the ordinary people of Gaza;

(4) believes strongly that the lives of innocent civilians must be protected and all appropriate measures should be taken to diminish civilian casualties and that all involved should continue to work to address humanitarian needs in Gaza;

(5) supports and encourages efforts to diminish the appeal and influence of extremists in the Palestinian territories and to strengthen moderate Palestinians who are committed to a secure and lasting peace with Israel; and

(6) reiterates its strong support for United States Government efforts to promote a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a serious and sustained peace process that leads to the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure State of Israel.

Tagged as Issues, Palestine, Gaza, Posted by Samer Araabi

blog comments powered by Disqus