On Wednesday, October 25, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, by a lopsided 365-to-30 margin, that exonerated Israel and placed all the blame on the Palestinians for the ongoing violence in the Occupied Territories.
As of Sunday, October 29, the death toll has reached 137.
Almost all of those deaths--129 of them--have been Arabs, which gives an indication of the excessive and disproportionate response by the Israeli military, a response already condemned by the U.N. Security Council (with the U.S. government abstaining).
But the House resolution (number 426) says not a word about Israel's excessive force, which includes sending rockets and missiles into Palestinian homes.
In fact, it "expresses its solidarity with the state of and people of Israel at this time of crisis."
The resolution offers no such expression of solidarity for the Palestinians "at this time of crisis."
The House resolution "condemns the Palestinian leadership for encouraging the violence and doing so little for so long to stop it, resulting in the senseless loss of life."
The House resolution issues no such condemnation of Ariel Sharon for "encouraging the violence" and no condemnation of Ehud Barak for any "senseless loss of life."
And the House resolution urges the Clinton Administration "to use its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to ensure that the Security Council does not again adopt unbalanced resolutions addressing the uncontrolled violence in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority."
"Unbalanced" just about says it all when it comes to the U.S. House of Representatives on questions of Israel and Palestine.
For those who think the Democrats are the good guys in Congress, the ones who fight for fairness and justice and self-determination, look at the roll call: 166 Democrats voted in favor of this resolution; only 21 opposed (eight voted "present" and 14 abstained).
Among those voting for it were such liberals as: Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Tom Barrett of Wisconsin, James Clyburn of South Carolina, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, John Lewis of Georgia, Nita Lowey of New York, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, George Miller of California, Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Jerrold Nadler of New York, David Obey of Wisconsin, Major Owens of New York, Nancy Pelosi of California, Charles Rangel of New York, and Bobby Rush of Illinois.
Those Democrats courageously voting against the resolution included: David Bonior of Michigan, John Conyers of Michigan, Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Barbara Lee of California, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Jose Serrano of New York, and Maxine Waters of California.
Two Representatives who conspicuously copped out by voting "present" were: Peter DeFazio of Oregon, head of the Progressive Caucus, and Bernie Sanders, the increasingly undistinguished Independent and socialist from Vermont.
All the liberal Representatives who failed to oppose this resolution owe their progressive constituents an answer.
And they owe an apology to the innocent Palestinians who are being killed almost every day by Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories.
Meanwhile, Congress and the Clinton Administration are finalizing this year's aid package for Israel, which consists of $2 billion in military aid and $800 million in economic aid. Israel has asked for an additional $800 million in military aid, and Clinton and the Congress are preparing to cough that up, as well.
Copyright © 2000 by The Progressive, Madison, WI.