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- As Delivered - 


WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks in the House of Representatives in support of H. Res. 293, expressing concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority:


“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I rise in support of this measure and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

“Let me start by thanking our former chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for sponsoring this resolution.  I agree with every word she just said.  She has been a good friend to the state and people of Israel, and this measure, which I’m happy to cosponsor, shows once again that support for Israel in Congress is not a partisan issue.  Israel has much bipartisan support in this Congress and we intend to keep it this way.


“As the Congresswoman has mentioned, the violence in Israel has gone from bad to worse in recent days.  Day after day, we hear new reports of innocent Israeli victims of stabbings or shootings at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.  And I use the word ‘terrorist,’ Mr. Speaker, because what they are doing are acts of terrorism.  If random people, average citizens who have nothing to do with policy, have nothing to do with politics, they’re just civilians that are walking in the street, and if they are attacked by a knife or something else that harms them, that’s a terrorist attack.  And imagine if we had such things going on in the United States, it would have a chilling effect on what people can do, can move around or can’t move around, as a result of it.  So this is not something that’s random, it’s not something that is confined.  It can strike at anybody, at any time, at any place.  And it’s terrorism. 


“And I’ve often said that while I support a two-state solution, if the Palestinians continue to use terrorism because they think it’ll get them closer to their state, they are wrong.  It will prevent them from ever having a state if they don’t renounce terrorism.  And that’s what this is all about.  It’s the incitement.  It’s the encouraging of hatred for Israelis and for Jews, and for the United States as well.  And this goes in time and time and time again, and then we wonder why we have these acts of violence because you cannot fan the fires and be a leader in it, and then suddenly look the other way and say, ‘Well, you know, we’re not encouraging it.’  The Palestinian Authority has been irresponsible, and they’ve been irresponsible for many, many years. 


“So, as it has every right to do, Israel has defended itself against these attacks, these stabbings and shootings.  But this bloodshed must be brought to an end.


“And I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that it could be—in a hurry—if Palestinian leaders would do the right thing: repudiate the violence, and most importantly, the ceaseless campaign of incitement that demonizes Jews and Israelis and glorifies terrorists. 


“Chairman Royce and I will soon send a bipartisan letter signed by more than 350 of our colleagues in both parties, and I’m very, very happy with the overwhelming support we have gotten from our colleagues on both sides of the aisle for this letter.  And that’s why Chairman Royce and I try to do things in a bipartisan manner because something like this is bipartisan.  Support for Israel is bipartisan.  Support against terror is bipartisan.  And we have to stand together as Americans, regardless of party affiliation, and say we will not countenance terror.  And we’re going to point fingers at the Palestinian Authority, who has been utterly irresponsible in this whole thing.


“So if Palestinian leaders would do the right thing and repudiate the violence, and most importantly, end the ceaseless campaign of incitement that demonizes Jews and Israelis and glorifies terrorists, this could stop. So this letter that Chairman Royce and I have done, signed by more than 350 of our colleagues, to President Abbas, Palestinian President Abbas, urging him to take that course. 


“But I cannot say that I have high hopes. After all, this type of rhetoric by Palestinians against Jews and Israelis, and even just Americans in general, is nothing new.  In Palestinian books and newspapers, on the television and radio, we see and hear a constant message of hatred and incitement.  From a young age, Palestinians are taught that the people of Israel are their enemies, and those who use violence are heroes.


“And this is very, very infuriating.  It’s the fuel that fires the violence we’re seeing today.  And it’s a roadblock, as I said before, on the path towards a two-state solution.  Palestinians will never build their own state on the backs of terrorists.  It’s a dead-end for them and it’s counterproductive.  They ought to know it.  They doing their people a tremendous disservice.


“So this resolution calls on Palestinian leaders to show real responsibility to reject the violence and end incitement and to return to the negotiating table with no preconditions.  Sit down and negotiate.  It reaffirms our commitment to our Israeli allies, and our desire to see peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.  So I urge my colleagues to support this measure.  And I reserve the balance of my time.”