AAI Says Congressional Meddling Disrupts the Peace Process

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AAI Says Congressional Meddling Disrupts the Peace Process

The American Arab Institute (AAI) held a press conference on July 25 to discuss recent congressional resolutions endangering the peace process. AAI president Dr/ James Zogby and news and defense editor Shawn Twing of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs said legislation now before Congress hurts Washington's image as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Zogby characterized pro-Israel language in the House concurrent resolution relating to the 30th Anniversary of the Reunification of the City of Jerusalem, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, and the Foreign Operations FY98 Appropriations Bill as "shocking, gratuitous, bizarre, and capable of sabotaging" the peace process.

Specifically, he pointed out that language in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act allowed Congress to "micromanage" diplomacy. Amendments would deny funding for official government documents not identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and even prohibit official U.S. government business between U.S. officers and Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Zogby also called for immediate renewal of the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act (MEPFA). This crucial act, which subsequently expired Aug. 12 while Congress was in recess, allows the president to suspend anti-terrorism laws so that American diplomatic relations with and U. …