NEW YORK – More than two hundred and fifty Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) activists from seventeen states took part in the ZOAs Annual Activist Mission to Washington this week, meeting with Members of Congress and Bush administration officials to call for U.S. action to stop Egyptian and Saudi support for Palestinian Arab terrorism.
During their two days in Washington, the ZOA members met with 150 Members of Congress or their senior staff members.
The mission began with a gala dinner on Capitol Hill, in the Canon House Buildings Caucus Room, where the featured speaker was former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, Jr., who is director of the Center for Security Policy. He spoke about the growing threat of Islamic terrorism, including the problem of Saudi Arabia supporting terrorist groups. ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, who also addressed the dinner, warned that an Israeli retreat from Gaza would inspire and make it easier for the terrorist groups to train, organize, and carry out future attacks.
Also speaking was Israeli trauma surgeon Dr. Jeffrey L. Kashuk, M.D., who discussed what happens at the scene of a terrorist attack, and showed photos of the rusty nails, pebbles, and rat poison that terrorists put in the bombs to cause maximum suffering
The next day, the mission participants attended a Capitol Hill luncheon. Seventeen Members of Congress took part, and all of them made powerful pro-Israel remarks.
Later, the delegates heard from journalist Carrie Devora, who lost her brother in a Palestinian Arab bus bombing.
The mission participants also met with Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, senior U.S. representative to the Arab-Israeli negotiations. In their meetings with Satterfield and Members of Congress, the ZOA activists emphasized:
* The U.S. should use diplomatic and financial pressure to stop Egypt from smuggling weapons through the tunnels to Palestinian Arab terrorists in Gaza, and to compel Saudi Arabia to stop encouraging suicide bombings by sending payments to the bombers families.
They urged Congressmembers to support the Saudi Arabian Accountability Act, S.1888 / HR 3643), which would impose sanctions unless the Saudis stop funding terrorist groups and fully cooperate with U.S. efforts against terrorism. It has 14 sponsors in the Senate, led by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), and 38 in the House, led by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), and Christopher Smith (R-NJ), vice chair of the House International Relations Committee.
They also urged Members of Congress to sign a letter to President Bush, urging him to pressure Egypt to shut down the weapons-smuggling tunnels. The letter is cosponsored in the Senate by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and in the House by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chair of the Mideast Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, and Tom Lantos (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.
* A sovereign Palestinian Arab state in Gaza will inevitably be a terrorist state, which will endanger Israel and undermine American interests in the Middle East.
* The Bush administration should insist that the Palestinian Authority hand over all terrorists involved in the murders of 51 American citizens in Israel since 1993. They urged Congressmembers to support H.R.3460 (which has 14 sponsors in the House, led by Rep. Jeff Flake [R-AZ] and Anthony Weiner [D-NY]), which would halt the $200-million in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Arabs until the PA hands over the killers of three American diplomatic security personnel last year; and the Koby Mandell Act (S.684), which would establish an office in the Justice Department to focus on capturing Palestinian Arab murderers of American citizens in Israel. (Its lead sponsors are Senator Smith [R-OR] and Wyden [D-OR].)
* The U.S. should recognize the need for justice for the 900,000 Jews persecuted and expelled by Arab regimes in 1948-1950 who lost billions of dollars worth of homes, business and property that were seized by the Arab regimes; and the need for Arab countries to absorb and settle Palestinian Arab refugees. A Congressional resolution to that effect, S.Res.325 / H.Con.Res. 311, is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Norm Coleman (R-MN) and in the House by 22 Representatives, led by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chair of the Mideast Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, and Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ).