Churches for Middle East Peace
ACTION ALERT - Senate Resolution and November Summit
Julie Schumacher Cohen, Legislative Coordinator
Senate Resolution and November Summit - http://www.cmep.org/Alerts/2007Sept20.htm
September 20, 2007
After some time in legislative limbo, the Feinstein/Lugar resolution on Israeli-Palestinian peace was reintroduced yesterday [Sept. 19] with the new number, S. Res. 321, and a total of 36 co-sponsors, over one-third of the Senate. The text of the new resolution [http://www.cmep.org/Legislative_Issues/Feinstein-Lugar_Res_Text.htm] includes changes that were made over the summer to reflect the June Hamas takeover of Gaza and the appointment of Tony Blair as Quartet Envoy.
The Feinstein/Lugar resolution had been “hotlined” (scheduled for quick passage by unanimous consent) on August 2nd, just before Congress headed out of town for its summer recess, but in the final legislative wrap-up it was not included. CMEP has learned that at least two Senators expressed objections to the resolution, effectively blocking Senate action. Since Congress reconvened on September 4th, the Senate has focused on the Iraq debate. We were concerned that the resolution would simply not re-surface and in that case, the public record would not reflect the full list of co-sponsors.
The fact that the resolution was reintroduced with 36 co-sponsors shows that many Senators feel this is an important message to be sending at this time. Now, with the Israeli-Arab summit scheduled for November and new hopes for substantive progress in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, Senate support for U.S. diplomacy to end the conflict is even more critical.
S. Res. 321 has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Given the objections that have been made to the resolution and the busy fall Senate calendar, even if it passes out of the committee the resolution could still not be placed on the Senate calendar. However, this strong show of support by co-sponsors and your advocacy could encourage additional senators to sign on. Regardless of what happens going forward, the resolution’s introduction and the large number of co-sponsors it has garnered demonstrates strong Senate support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and robust U.S. diplomacy to achieve it. The last time there was positive pro-peace Senate legislation was four years ago (in support of peace initiatives like the Geneva Accords) and it only garnered 7 co-sponsors. There are five times that many Senators today who are pledging to support Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The current list of co-sponsors, with key leadership positions noted, is included below.
If your Senator(s) is a co-sponsor of the resolution, please take a moment to thank them for their stand for peace, even if you did so earlier. If your Senator is not a co-sponsor, let him or her know that the resolution has been re-introduced and that you still want them to co-sponsor it. Also, this is an important opportunity to highlight the necessity of the November Israeli-Arab peace summit making real progress toward the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and a two-state solution to the conflict. Reports indicate that the risks for failure are great. Unless the agenda includes serious political discussions that can lead toward negotiations to resolve the final status issues, key countries may not attend and a failed conference may spark a further breakdown in the region.
Call or send a personalized email. Contact Info for Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Sample message for co-sponsors:
Thank you for your leadership in co-sponsoring S. Res. 321, the updated Feinstein/Lugar resolution on Israeli-Palestinian peace. As an American Christian who cares deeply about peace in the Holy Land, I appreciate your commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and your call for more robust U.S. diplomacy to achieve peace. I ask that you encourage Senate colleagues to join you as a co-sponsor and urge quick action to pass this important resolution.
With the Israeli-Arab peace summit upcoming in November, your support of U.S. efforts to help resolve the conflict comes at a critical time. For the November international meeting to be successful, vigorous U.S. diplomacy is needed to ensure that real progress is made toward a viable Palestinian state and a two-state solution to the conflict. The agenda should include substantive political discussions that can lead concretely toward negotiations of a peace agreement.
Sample message for non co-sponsors:
I am contacting you today to bring to your attention the updated Feinstein-Lugar resolution, S. Res. 321, which was reintroduced on September 19th with 36 co-sponsors. As an American Christian, I support high-level and sustained U.S. engagement to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Israel living in peace and security alongside a viable and contiguous Palestinian state. Please co-sponsor S. Res. 321, which reaffirms the Senate’s commitment to a two-state solution and urges a robust U.S. diplomatic effort to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.
With the Israeli-Arab peace summit upcoming in November, your co-sponsorship of S. Res. 321 and support of U.S. efforts to help resolve the conflict is vital. For the November international meeting to be successful, vigorous U.S. diplomacy is needed to ensure that real progress is made toward a viable Palestinian state and a two-state solution to the conflict. The agenda should include substantive political discussions that can lead concretely toward negotiations of a comprehensive peace agreement.
Listed alphabetically with key committee membership or leadership position(s) noted:
Akaka (D-HI): Armed Services; Veterans Affairs (Chair)
Baucus (D-MT): Finance (Chair)
Bingaman (D-NM): Energy & Natural Resources (Chair), Senate Democratic Conference (Chair of Cmte Outreach)
Burr (R-NC): Intelligence (Select)
Byrd (D-WV): Appropriations (Chair); Armed Services; President Pro Tempore
Casey (D-PA): Foreign Relations
Craig (R-ID): Appropriations; Veteran’s Affairs (Ranking)
Dodd (D-CT): Foreign Relations (Near East), Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs (Chair)
Durbin (D-IL): Appropriations (State, Foreign Ops and Related Programs), Majority Whip
Feingold (D-WI): Foreign Relations (Near East); Intelligence (Select), Majority Deputy Whip
Feinstein (D-CA): Appropriations; Intelligence (Select), Rules and Administration (Chair)
Hagel (R-NE): Foreign Relations (Near East); Intelligence (Select)
Harkin (D-IA): Appropriations; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (Chair)
Hutchison (R-TX): Appropriations, Senate Republican Policy Cmte (Chair)
Kennedy (D-MA): Armed Services, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (Chair)
Kerry (D-MA): Foreign Relations (Near East, Chair), Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Chair)
Kohl (D-WI): Appropriations
Leahy (D-VT): Appropriations (State, Foreign Ops and Related Programs, Chair); Judiciary (Chair)
Levin (D-MI): Armed Services (Chair), Intelligence (Select), Senate Nat'l Security Working Group (Co-Chair)
Lott (R-MS): Minority Whip, Senate Nat'l Security Working Group (Co-Chair)
Lugar (R-IN): Foreign Relations (Ranking)
Murray (D-WA): Appropriations, Senate Democratic Conference (Secretary)
Nelson (D-FL): Foreign Relations; Intelligence (Select), Armed Services, Majority Deputy Whip
Reed (D-RI): Appropriations (State, Foreign Ops and Related Programs), Armed Services
Smith (R-OR): Minority Deputy Whip
Snowe (R-ME): Intelligence (Select), Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Ranking)
Specter (R-PA): Appropriations (State, Foreign Ops and Related Programs), Judiciary (Ranking)
Stabenow (D-MI): Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Cmte (Chair)
Sununu (R-NH): Foreign Relations (Near East), Minority Deputy Whip
Voinovich (R-OH): Foreign Relations (Near East)
Webb (D-VA): Armed Services; Foreign Relations
Whitehouse (D-RI): Intelligence (Select)
Wyden (D-OR): Intelligence (Select)
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Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Friars OFM (English Speaking Conference, JPIC Council), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Maryknoll Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee, Moravian Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church (GBCS & GBGM).
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