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(5) calls on the Government of Egypt to sepa
rate the apparatus of the National Democratic Party
ernment holdings in Egyptian media, and to end the
(6) calls on the Government of Egypt to repeal
the 1977 emergency law which took effect in 1981
and in the development of any future anti-terrorism
legislation to allow peaceful, constitutional political
activities, including public meetings and demonstra
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. So without objection, the staff is directed to make any technical and conforming amendments. I want to thank all of the Members of our Subcommittee for being here, and I would like to recognize Congressman Engel.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Thank you very much, Madam Chairwoman. I would like to thank both you and Ranking Member Ackerman for all of your help and assistance. I want to comment on two of the resolutions, if I might.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Absolutely.
Mr. ENGEL. One is the one that I have sponsored, which is H. Res. 535, honoring Yitzhak Rabin. As you know, November 5th marks the tenth anniversary of the brutal assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, who was a warrior-turned-peacemaker. In a recent national poll, Israelis rank Rabin's assassination as the third most formative event in the nation's history after the 1967 and 1973 wars. Obviously, his impact in life was tremendous, and his loss to the world is incalculable. Importantly, however, this legislation highlights the legacy of the man. The Hebrew word used for the anniversary of a death is "yizkah,” which simply means remember, and while mourning his loss, we must also celebrate his life.
I have a rather lengthy statement which I would like to ask permission to place into the record.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. You are free to read it as well, Congressman, whatever you would like.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Mr. Rabin dedicated his life to the cause of peace and security for the State of Israel by defending his nation against all threats, including terrorism, and undertaking courageous risks in the pursuit of peace. By adopting this resolution, as we do, Congress will honor his life, legacy, and example of the Israeli prime minister on the tenth anniversary of his death.
This resolution expresses our admiration for Yitzhak Rabin's legacy and recognizes his historic service to the Israeli people while extending our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Israel. It also reiterates our continued support for the close ties and special relationship between the United States and Israel and reaffirms our commitment to the process of building a just and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. We also condemn any and all acts of terrorism and reaffirm unequivocally the sacred principle that democratic leaders and governments must be changed only by the democratically expressed will of the people.
Rabin, I might point out, was the first sabra, native-born Israeli, to become prime minister. He was born in Jerusalem and later volunteered for the Palmach, the elite unit of the Hagandah, which was the predecessor of the Israeli defense forces, and served for 27 years, including during the 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Suez War, and as chief of staff in the June 1967 Six-Day War, which many of us remember. In 1975, Prime Minister Rabin signed the interim agreement with Egypt, known as Sinai II, which laid the groundwork for the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. He also served as Ambassador to the United States from 1967 to 1973, minister of defense from 1984 to 1990, and prime minister from 1974 to 1977 and from 1992 until his assassination in 1995.
On September 13, 1993, in Washington, DC, Yitzhak Rabin signed the declaration of principle framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. I remember that day very well, Madam Chair, because I was there. We were there. It was 95-degree weather, and my wife was in her eighth month of pregnancy. We remember being there, and upon signing, Rabin said to the Palestinian people, and I quote:
"We say to you today in a loud and clear voice, enough of blood and tears, enough. We harbor no hatred toward you. We have no desire for revenge. We, like you, are people who want to build a home, plant a tree, love, live, side by side with you,
in dignity and empathy as human beings, as free men.” He received the 1994 Nobel Prize for Peace for his vision and bravery as a peacemaker. The following year, Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan signed a peace treaty between their countries.
Then, on November 4, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin was brutally assassinated after attending a peace rally in Tel Aviv where his last words were:
“I have always believed that the majority of the people want peace, are prepared to take risks for peace. Peace is what the
Jewish people aspire to.” Madam Chair, 10 years ago, Israel and the world lost a leader of vision and strength. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin epitomized the essence of the State of Israel, fierce in his defense of his homeland but always willing to go the extra mile for peace. As we remember him on the tenth anniversary of his death, let us express the hope that Israel and its neighbors will someday experience the peace that Rabin worked so hard to achieve.
I am delighted that my colleagues all support my resolution, H. Res. 535, and I again thank you and Mr. Ackerman for your strong support. And I am wondering if I can just briefly
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Of course.
Mr. ENGEL (continuing). Comment on the other resolution, which is H. Res. 438 that Mr. Rothman has put in, urging member states of the UN to stop supporting resolutions that unfairly castigate Israel and to promote within the United Nations General Assembly more balanced and constructive approaches to resolving conflict in the Middle East.
This is something that I have been working on for many, many years, and I do not miss a chance to talk to any Ambassador who visits my office about this. Forty percent of all of the resolutions of the United Nations are either condemning Israel or have something to do with Israel. It is an obsession and unfair. It is a disgrace that so many members of the UN vote to support resolutions that unfairly castigate Israel and it ought to be more balanced than it is.
There are also several funding mechanisms. At a time when we are criticizing the UN for wasteful spending, there are various committees that exist solely for the castigating of Israel, and in no other controversy are there these kinds of committees. There is one for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. To me, they are just committees that promote hatred and have no effect accept to make the UN one-sided and ineffectual, and, frankly, those committees which are funded with taxpayers' money and U.S. taxpayers' money ought to be abolished. Šo I would ask unanimous consent to submit some of my
other remarks into the record,
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Without objection.
Mr. ENGEL (continuing]. And I thank you very much for your indulgence.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you, Mr. Engel. You know, those committees that you had discussed were part of the Chairman's UN Reform Act, to do away with those. We hope that 1 day we will get that bill through.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. I would like to thank Congressman Issa for his valuable contributions on the Egypt resolution. It is always a delight to work with you. Thank you, Darrell.
Anyone else seeking recognition? Yes. Go right ahead.
Mr. ISSA. Madam Chair, I would ask that my entire statement be placed in the record.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Yes, without objection. [The prepared statement of Mr. Issa follows:) PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DARRELL ISSA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Madam Chairwoman, last Spring, Egypt made an important step towards democracy when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced his support for a Constitutional amendment providing for multi-candidate direct elections for President. This important reform was implemented, a vibrant campaign for President took place, and Egypt took its greatest single step toward democracy forward.
While there were significant shortcomings that fell short of recognized international standards in both the process leading up to the vote for President and the vote itself, this election nonetheless was a great moment for Egypt.
Egypt has, however, completed this chapter in its road toward full democracy and is already in the midst of its next chapter on the way toward democratic and competitive elections.
Egypt is a friend of the United States and has played an indispensable role in promoting peace and stability for nearly three decades.
I consider myself a friend of Egypt and while I believe Egypt deserves praise and recognition for the steps toward democracy it has made, I must also, as a friend, express some disappointment and concern about missed opportunities.
Specifically, I was disappointed to see that more was not done to ensure that domestic election monitoring officials would be granted full access to polling and counting stations. I have also been disappointed to learn about the continued severe limitations placed on respected international election monitoring organizations to gain accreditation and reasonable access to polling and counting sites.
I have to note that the during the 2004 election campaign here in the United States, the OSCE was granted an invitation by the United States to monitor elections.
This resolution focuses Congress' attention on a number of different aspects of the electoral process in Egypt. While most of these areas have seen some degree of improvement since the Presidential election, I believe that much more can be done.
In closing, I stand ready to support Egypt as it moves toward truly competitive democratic elections. This movement is rarely easy, and I will be among the first to congratulate Egypt on its successes and will continue to advocate for making sure Congress continues to support Egypt as a friend and ally.
Mr. ISSA. I will just read the opening paragraph in a very short statement.
Madam Chairwoman, last spring, Egypt made an important step toward democracy when Egyptian President Hasmeh Mubarak announced his support for a constitutional amendment providing for multicandidate, direct elections for President. This important reform was implemented. A vibrant campaign for President took place, and I had the privilege of witnessing President Mubarak actually campaigning in a very Western style, and this was a great step toward democracy.
We are here dealing with a resolution today because other steps that could have been taken, that should have been taken, were not taken. This is not intended to diminish the fact that there were steps taken. I believe that, as President Mubarak comes to the twilight of his time as President, he is not thinking about transitioning in an orderly and democratic fashion. But, Madam Chairwoman, I support your resolution because we need to send a strong message that we stand by Egypt in its emergence as a democracy, but we stand there saying we are disappointed, that more could have been done, and that we stand ready to assist Egypt in seeing that it will do more if it has the will to, and with that, I yield back.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you so much, Congressman Issa.
Mr. SCHIFF. Madam Chair, just very quickly, I want to thank you for your work on these resolutions, and they really do make a difference. When you and I worked together on a resolution earlier on Egypt, protesting the arrest of Iman Nour, it got an immediate reaction from the Egyptian Government. I think this is the one Committee where the mere introduction of a bill has a demonstrable impact, not even the passage necessarily, and I think it is very important that we get the message to Egypt that it is in Egypt's interest, and we are watching very carefully to see how the parliamentary elections go.
I would love to work with you on a similar measure vis-a-vis Azerbaijan, which just had some very problematic elections, and I also want to thank Mr. Rothman for his work on the resolution urging that the UN stop, basically, becoming a bastion for antiIsrael resolutions. Thank you again, Madam Chair, for all of your work.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. I thank all of the Members for coming today and for your participation, and without objection, the staff is directed to make any technical and conforming amendments, and they will soon be before our International Relations Full Committee, and with that, the Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:46 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]