TAKE ACTION: Full & Open Debate Needed on Anti-Palestinian Legislation

TAKE ACTION: Call or fax Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and urge him to allow a full and open debate on HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.

Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Phone: 202-225-0600

Fax: 202-226-1996

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: As Congress reconvenes this week from its spring recess, there is a good chance that supporters of HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, will try to rush this legislation to a vote “under suspension”, a procedure that prevents amendments from being offered and limits debate.

According to House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House, “Under the modern practice, the motion to suspend the rules is used frequently to pass reported legislative measures that are perceived to have a broad degree of support and little need for prolonged debate.”  Congressional Research Services notes that suspending the rules “is a procedure that the House of Representatives often uses on the floor to act expeditiously on relatively noncontroversial legislation”, such as naming a post office.

However, the so-called Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act is far more momentous than the naming of a post office.  It is a bill that would impose draconian economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Palestinian people for voting, including:

* Restricting US humanitarian aid and potentially eliminating entire US aid projects, such as infrastructure and small business development;

* Threatening to withhold a portion of US dues to the United Nations because it maintains bodies that advocate for Palestinian human rights and seek to hold Israel accountable to international law;      

* Defining territory controlled nominally by the Palestinian Authority as a “terrorist sanctuary”, thereby requiring US businesses to obtain special export licenses for most goods destined for the Occupied Palestinian Territories and gutting the provisions of the US free trade agreement with the West Bank and Gaza;

* Refusing visas to members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, even those who belong to political parties that the United States does not classify as “foreign terrorist organizations”;

* Restricting the movement of PLO diplomats at the United Nations and threatening to close the PLO’s office in Washington, and;

* Instructing the US representative to the World Bank to use the considerable strength of the United States in international financial institutions to vote against the continuation of humanitarian aid projects.

Only the Speaker of the House can recognize a Representative to offer a motion to suspend the rules and dispense with a full debate and prevent amendments from being offered.  Don’t allow Speaker Hastert to authorize this bill going forward without a transparent and democratic debate!  Contact the Speaker today at:

Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Phone: 202-225-0600

Fax: 202-226-1996

TALKING POINTS:

* It has come to my attention that supporters of HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, will try to rush this legislation to a vote “under suspension”.  According to House practice and precedent, this procedure is used to pass non-controversial legislation that has a broad degree of support, such as naming a post office.

* HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, is controversial and does not have a broad degree of support.  The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has mobilized more than 300 US-based organizations in opposition to this resolution.  Despite intense arm-twisting from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), more than 160 Representatives have refused to cosponsor this resolution.  HR4681 is both controversial and divisive and therefore should not be allowed to come up “under suspension”.

* HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, would impose draconian economic and diplomatic sanctions on the Palestinian people for voting.  Surely such a potentially momentous shift in US foreign policy should be subject to transparent and democratic debate and Representatives should have the opportunity to offer amendments to this ill-conceived resolution.

Contact Speaker Hastert today:

Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Phone: 202-225-0600

Fax: 202-226-1996

Source: www.endtheoccupation.org

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