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RAHALL REPORT: Israel’s Future

Posted by kinchendavid on July 21, 2006

From the desk of U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)

Representing West Virginia‘s 3rd District

Washington, D.C. — As a Christian, I believe we must fully support the State of Israel and defend it for its future. The land of my grandfathers who shared my Christian faith lies north of Israel. Israel and Lebanon share a common border. Lebanon is the most Christian nation in the Middle East. Almost fifty percent of the Lebanese people are Christian. Both nations are now in crisis because extremists in the region are waging an unjustified war of terrorism against Israel. Both nations need an honest broker to bring stability to the region. Israel’s future depends in large part upon a stable Lebanon.

This week the House of Representatives ignored a resolution I helped introduce which would have expressed an honest broker’s plea for an end to hostilities on both sides. You can find the text of my resolution on my web page at http://www.house.gov/rahall.

My resolution, House Resolution 926, condemns Hamas and Hezbollah for engaging in the reprehensible terrorist act of taking hostages, affirms the right of Israel to conduct operations, both inside and outside its own borders and in the territory of countries supporting the hostage takers, in pursuit of the release of hostages, and declares our continued commitment to aiding Israel in battling terrorism and securing the unconditional release of hostages. The resolution also urges all parties to protect innocent life in the process.

I believe Israel has a right to defend itself. I condemn the actions of Hezbollah in the taking of Israeli soldiers. But I point out that the actions of all parties should be measured.

Instead of this balanced approach, the House passed a one-sided resolution citing Israel’s right to defend itself – just as my resolution did – but also blamed the pro-American, pro-democratic government of Lebanon for not ridding itself of the extremist gang Hezbollah. I voted against this one-sided approach, not against Israel.

I do not think we need to enter this fray militarily but we can play a role diplomatically with an even hand. Last week I urged the President to call Israel’s Prime Minister to ask for a cease fire, a cooling off period. I echoed the call President Ronald Reagan made to Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1982, when President Reagan said “enough is enough” and encouraged a cease fire between Israel and the P.L.O.

It is easy to suggest that Lebanon should manage its borders and maintain its own security and rid itself of Hezbollah as the House resolution stated. If Lebanon got the billions in foreign aid from the Congress that Israel receives each year, the task would be much easier. The facts speak otherwise. The young Lebanese government striving to reflect democratic ideals frankly does not have the ability to rid itself of foreign entanglements. In fact, Israel itself militarily occupied Lebanon for almost two decades and was not able to stamp out insurgents striking at Israel. This is an issue for the world community. The United States should defend Israel, and at the same time defend democratic governments in the region. This goal is the best way for us to secure Israel’s future.

Christ’s Sermon on the Mount included the charge, “blessed are the peacemakers.” People can disagree, but I can not recall from the pages of history any people who have annihilated an enemy for all time. The United States since becoming a world power has generally played this key role. The President’s couch potato diplomacy will probably end soon, but in my mind it can not end soon enough. The problems the Middle East faces can not be solved by military means. History has proven this. We should call for an end to all military actions on all sides, and work for a peaceful solution. This is Israel’s most promising future.




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