Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act Unnecessarily Punishes Innocents and Moderates
Interview with Josh Ruebner, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Since January, when Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary election, the Bush Administration and the U.S. Congress have withheld American aid and are working to prevent other funds from reaching the Palestinian people. Israel, the U.S. and European Union consider Hamas to be a terrorist group due to the group's suicide bombings and other attacks against Israel. Critics say the U.S. government is, in effect, punishing the Palestinian people for voting in Hamas in an internationally recognized free and fair election -- complicating Washington's effort to convince the world that it is promoting democracy in the Middle East.
Just before leaving for the Memorial Day break, the House of Representatives passed the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, HR 4681. The legislation's many provisions would deny any support to the Palestinian Authority unless its leaders comply with a long list of demands that could make any future sovereign Palestinian state unviable. The Bush administration, while pursuing its own agenda to limit Hamas's ability to govern, has stated the House bill is "unnecessary." The Senate has yet to vote on a similar measure that has 86 co-sponsors but lacks the support of Republican leaders of key committees, such as Lincoln Chaffee and Richard Lugar.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Josh Ruebner of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than 200 groups founded in 2002. Ruebner explains the consequences of the bill for Palestinians and the peace process.
Call the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. at (202) 332-0994 or visit their website at www.endtheoccupation.org
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