Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congress Watch: Democratic Congressman James Moran Dares to Speak Out

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congress Watch: Democratic Congressman James Moran Dares to Speak Out

Article excerpt

Congress Watch: Democratic Congressman James Moran Dares to Speak Out

By Eugene Bird

For the first time since former Congressman Paul Findley (R-IL) raised the question of U.S. aid before the old House Foreign Affairs Committee, a sitting congressman has openly questioned continued aid to Israel in the face of the new Israeli government's signals of intransigence over the critical parts of the peace process so carefully nurtured by the Clinton administration.

At a June 12 hearing on the Middle East by the full House International Relations Committee, Congressman James Moran (D-VA) openly confronted the administration, and Committee Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY), over the issue of continuing support for the new government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if he carries out his campaign pledges.

Questioning Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Robert Pelletreau, Congressman Moran, who is immensely popular in his Northern Virginia district, asked the witness, "Is there any limit to your support for this new government...any point beyond which you would not go along? I...am concerned about his [Netanyahu's] policies...his promise to expand settlements, to continue to expropriate houses...[to violate] the agreement already made to put Jerusalem on the table for final status negotiations and Netanyahu's promise to take it off...Would you [the U.S. State Department] object if the troops are not deployed from Hebron? Will you object if Israel [fails] to keep her promise to create a land passage between the West Bank and Gaza? …

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