Creating Jobs First in Occupied Palestinian Lands

Posted on January 31, 1994 in Washington Watch

Builders for Peace (BFP), the American project launched by Vice President Al Gore to promote private investment in the West Bank and Gaza, has just completed a week-long visit to the Middle East.

The visit included stops in Tunisia, Jordan, the West Bank and Israel and was led by BFP’s co-Presidents, former U.S. Congressman Mel Levine and myself. While the major focus of the trip was designed to bring potential U.S. investors to meet with and develop ties with Palestinian partners, the BFP delegation also conducted briefing sessions with important regional political and business leaders and jointly sponsored a U.S.-Palestinian...

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A National Arab American Conference—Signs of Political Success and a Forum for Future Work

Posted on January 17, 1994 in Washington Watch

This week Arab American delegates from 26 states will convene in Washington for the eighth National Leadership Conference of the Arab American Institute (AAI). This year’s conference will mark the significant advances made by Arab Americans in U.S. politics. The conference will also serve as a forum for setting an Arab American policy and electoral agenda for 1994.

This year’s events will be highlighted by the appearance of two Cabinet officials from the Clinton Administration and one of the President’s closest advisors: Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and Senior Advisor for Policy...

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Strobe Talbott and the New Clinton Foreign Policy Team

Posted on January 10, 1994 in Washington Watch

Despite setbacks in some areas of foreign policy, the Clinton Administration maintains that its successes in dealing with Russia, Japan and on NAFTA far outweigh the difficulties encountered in Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti.

Each of these three hotspots were inherited from the Bush Administration. According to the Clinton Administration, while each is a profoundly disturbing tragedy, none has an easy solution or is a great enough threat to the vital interests of the U.S. to warrant deeper American involvement. Nor, the White House argues, should they be viewed as measures of the successes or failures of Clinton’s foreign policy.

But...

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The Press and U.S. Politics, 1993-1994

Posted on January 03, 1994 in Washington Watch

During the last two weeks I reviewed President Bill Clinton’s legislative successes during the past year and the challenges he faces as he prepares to introduce much-needed but controversial legislation to Congress in 1994.

Not only will the President be proposing legislation this year on health care, welfare reform and an anti-crime package, but all members of Congress and one-third of the Senate will be running for reelection. The very fact of the upcoming elections, as much as the substantive issues involved in the legislative proposals, will complicate Clinton’s work in 1994.

Given this tangled web of politics, what are...

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A Preview of Clinton's 1994 Legislative Battles

Posted on December 27, 1993 in Washington Watch

After his first year in office and enduring an unending parade of bruising battles and high-profile debates, President Bill Clinton will continue to define himself in 1994 as a new Democrat through another series of legislative struggles with Congress.

The first item on the agenda for 1994 is health care reform. During the speech he used to introduce his health care proposal, the President challenged Congress to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan by the end of 1994. As Clinton has already moved the legislation to Capitol Hill, it is up to the Congress now to pass it.

Of...

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Clinton's First Year: What Kind for Success?

Posted on December 20, 1993 in Washington Watch

As 1993 draws to a close, the White House and the Democratic Party have been faxing daily memos and reports to the press and political analysts trumpeting the Administration’s successful first year in office.

Despite early setbacks, the President has, in fact, recorded an impressive set of legislative victories and initiatives. There are in all of the flurry of activity, some ironies to be found and some observations that are worth making at this point.

First of all, the claims of success in the daily faxes are absolutely justified. In the words of Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, Clinton’s first...

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The Challenge of Peace

Posted on December 13, 1993 in Washington Watch

The three months that have elapsed since the signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles have been filled with tragedy and genuine threats to peace.

The euphoria that accompanied the signing in both Israeli and Palestinian society has subsided, not only among the often cited “enemies of peace” but now even the average “men on the street” are questioning whether peace is, in fact, near at hand.

The spiral of violence is increasing and at times appears to be out of control, and is exacting a toll in human life and from the morale of Palestinians and Israelis. The result...

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Builders For Peace: A New American Initiate

Posted on December 06, 1993 in Washington Watch

The tragedy and brutality of the occupation continues to torment the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. The promise of September 13 has not yet borne fruit. Instead the cycle of violence has accelerated with dozens killed and hundreds shot and wounded. The prisons are still filled and the economy of the territories is strangling.

It is not the same old story. Enemies of the Israel/PLO Declaration of Principles exist on both sides and Palestinians have been victims not only of the Israeli occupation authorities, but also of their own internal opposition. Simultaneously, Israeli right wing opponents of the...

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Crime and Violence in the U.S. Today

Posted on November 29, 1993 in Washington Watch

Since 1990, Ahmed, (not his real name) 47 years old, has run a small grocery store in a poor, high-crime neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Like other small businessmen in the area, Ahmed has been tormented by young gang members who live in the vicinity of his store. His business has regularly been victimized by armed robbery, petty shoplifting, and vandalism. Even his one room apartment in the back of the store has been broken into and robbed on a number of occasions. Faced, one too many times, by armed gunmen, Ahmed, like many other storeowners has broken the law and...

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The NAFTA Agreement

Posted on November 22, 1993 in Washington Watch

Political analysts and leaders in both parties have showered President Clinton with praise for his winning performance in the Congressional vote over the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) last week. There is no doubt that this was a Clinton victory. During the last few weeks before the NAFTA vote, the President met with 150 members of Congress, held 18 mass meetings with business and political leaders and worked the phones non-stop, winning over new supporters for the bill.

The week before the vote, NAFTA was given little chance of passing. Even two days before the final ballot, the count...

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