Mr. HELMS (for himself, Mr. Gramm, Mr. Dole, Mr. Bond, Mr. Graham, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Mack, Mr. Metzenbaum, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Boshwitz, Mr. Nickles, Mr. Packwood, Mr. Heinz, Mr. Domenici, Mr. McCain, Mr. Symms, Mr. D'Amato, Mr. Pressler, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Humphrey, Mr. Coats, Mr. Burns, and Mr. Kasten) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:
Whereas a 1975 agreement between Israel and the United States prohibits talks between United States officials and the Palestine Liberation Organization until the Palestine Liberation Organization recognizes Israel's right to exist and accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338;
Whereas section 1302(b) of the International Security Development and Cooperation Act of 1975 added the renunciation of terrorism to these conditions;
Whereas these conditions have been reaffirmed by statute five times since 1984;
Whereas on December 14, 1988, Secretary of State George Shultz determined that, by virtue of a statement by Yasser Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization had fulfilled the conditions required by law for discussions with United States officials to commence;
Whereas Yasser Arafat had previously renounced terrorism in the Cairo Declaration of November 7, 1985;
Whereas the Palestine Liberation Organization failed to live up to its commitment to refrain from terrorism, as outlined in the Declaration of November 7, 1985, by carrying out no less than 92 terrorist attacks resulting in the deaths of 4 Americans; and
Whereas Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist attacks on Israel have in the past resulted in the deaths of innocent Americans and, as such, continuing Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist attacks in Israel present a threat against the lives of innocent Americans visiting the Holy Land; Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That in the event further talks are held with the Palestine Liberation Organization--
(1) the top priority of the United States in any such talks should be the prevention of terrorist and other violent activity by the Palestine Liberation Organization or any of its factions; and
(2) during the next round of such talks the representative of the United States should obtain from the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization a full accounting of the following reported terrorist or other violent activities which occurred after Yasser Arafat's commitment of December 14, 1988:
(A) On December 26, 1988, an attempted infiltration into Israel by boat by four terrorists of the PLO-affiliated Popular Struggle Front.
(B) On December 28, 1988, an attempted infiltration into Israel by three terrorists of the PLO-affiliated Palestine Liberation Front armed with Kalashnikov rifles, missiles, and anti-tank launchers.
(C) On January 24, 1989, an unprovoked attack on an Israeli patrol in Southern Lebanon by PLO-affiliated Palestine Liberation Front.
(D) On February 5, 1989, an attempted infiltration into Israel by nine terrorists of the PLO-affiliated Palestine Liberation Front and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine armed with automatic rifles, hand granades, rocket-propelled grenades, and wire cutters.
(E) On February 23, 1989, an attempted attack on targets in Israel by terrorists of the PLO-affiliated Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine armed with AK-47 rifles, anti-tank rockets and wire cutters.
(F) On February 27, 1989, a PLO-affiliated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ambush of a pro-Israeli Southern Lebanese army vehicle.
(G) On March 2, 1989, an attempted infiltration into Israel by four terrorists of the PLO-affiliated Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, light anti-tank missiles, grenades, and wire cutters, headed for the civilian town of Zarit.
(H) On March 13, 1989, an attempted infiltration into Israel by three terrorists of PLO-aligned Palestine Liberation Front armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, hand grenades, small missiles, and wire cutters.
(I) On March 15, 1989, an attempted attack on Israel through Gaza by two terrorists of the Islamic Jihad group under the orders of Yasser Arafat, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition, and grenades.
Sec. 2. In the event further talks are held with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Secretary of State should, within 10 days after the next round of such talks, report to the Senate on the accounting provided by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization of the incidents described in the first section of this resolution.
Mr. HELMS. Today I offer a resolution which urges our State Department to obtain from the PLO an accounting of a series of violent acts which PLO-affiliated groups have reportedly undertaken since Yasser Arafat renounced terrorism last December.
The resolution aims to reinforce the Bush administration policy of pressuring the PLO to reduce its violent activity. At the same time, the resolution focuses attention on what appears to be continuing PLO terrorist activity.
The resolution is being introduced with 24 sponsors, including Senators from both parties and all parts of the political spectrum. Joining me on the resolution are Senators Gramm of Texas, Dole, Wilson, Graham of Florida, Bond, Metzenbaum, Boschwitz, Packwood, Nickles, Lautenberg, Heinz, Domenici, Kasten, McCain, Symms, Grassley, D'Amato, Pressler, Mack, Hatch, Humphrey, Coats, and Burns.
Mr. President, on December 14, 1988, the State Department determined that, by virtue of a statement by Yasser Arafat, the PLO had fulfilled the conditions required by law for discussions with U.S. officials to commence.
At that time, many observers felt that our Government made a tactical error in dealing with Yasser Arafat. I publicly questioned the wisdom of trying to combat terrorism by negotiating with terrorists. The State Department should have required that the conditions in the law--that the PLO renounce terrorism, recognize Israel, and accept UN Resolutions 242 and 338--be met not just in words, but in practice as well.
There was doubt then, and doubt now, whether the PLO would and will live by the commitments made on December 14 by Yasser Arafat. Yasser Arafat is a terrorist and the PLO is a terrorist group--and we cannot expect terrorists to keep their word.
Indeed, statements made since then by a number of key PLO leaders are entirely inconsistent with the commitments made by Arafat in December. Arafat himself flaunted his renunciation of terrorism by threatening--in a January radio broadcast--the life of any Palestinian leader who proposes an end to the violence in the territories.
What is even more troubling is that PLO terrorist and other violent activity may actually be continuing. Since the Arafat commitment of December 14, there have been no fewer than nine reported terrorist or attempted terrorist acts involving PLO affiliated groups.
This resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that the top priority of the United States in any future talks with the PLO should be a prevention of terrorist and other violent activity by the PLO or its factions.
It also lists nine reported terrorist or attempted terrorist or violent acts involving PLO affiliated groups, urges the State Department to obtain from the PLO an accounting of these incidents, and asks the Secretary of State to report to the Senate on the accounting provided by the PLO.
Mr. President, the longer the PLO continues its violent activities, the longer it will take to bring about a real peace in the Middle East. The Bush administration policy of making a reduction of violence a priority in any talks with the PLO is a recognition of this fact. The Senate should do its part by making certain that continuing terrorist and other violent activity by the PLO does not go unnoticed nor unanswered.
The absolute precondition to any talks between our Government and representatives of the PLO must be the cessation of all acts of terrorism.
It is inconceivable to me that this Government could willingly and openly negotiate with any organization that equates violence with politics, that negotiates out of the barrel of a gun.
At the outset of this process, former Secretary Shultz determined that the PLO had fulfilled the conditions necessary for talks to begin. He also warned that this determination was conditional, and subject to revision in view of continuing evidence of good faith. I urge Secretary of State Baker to proceed with the utmost caution and deliberation in dealing with Yasser Arafat or any of his confederates.
This resolution seeks an accounting from Mr. Arafat regarding nine specific terrorist incidents all since his commitment in December 1988 to end the cycle of violence in the Middle East.
Should he fail to provide it, or prove less than forthcoming, such negotiations cannot continue.
The United States cannot permit itself to be seen as legitimizing or overlooking terrorism, no matter how worthy the policy goal. Only by divorcing himself completely from this inhuman lawlessness can Mr. Arafat hope to further the interests of the PLO.
I look forward to the swift passage of this timely resolution, and urge all of my colleagues to join in supporting it.
Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I join with Senator Helms and my other colleagues in submitting this resolution calling for an accounting of the PLO's behavior since the United States began its dialog with that group.
This resolution states that in the event further talks are held with the PLO, the top priority of the United States should be a cessation of terrorist and other violent activity by the PLO or any of its factions. During the next round of such talks, if they are held, the United States should obtain from the PLO a full accounting of reported terrorist activities which have occurred since the dialog began, and which appear to implicate the PLO or its constituent groups. And it calls on the Secretary of State to report to the Senate within 10 days of the next round of talks on the accounting provided by the PLO on these incidents.
Mr. President, this resolution is important because recent events have cast doubt on Arafat's desire and ability to live up to his bold words of last December--his renunciation of terrorism, his acceptance of key United Nations Security Council resolutions, and his recognition of Israel's right to exist.
For example, Arafat's threat to pump 10 bullets into anyone who thinks of stopping the intifada is clearly inconsistent with his December renunciation of terrorism. Former Secretary of State George Shultz acknowledged as much in a January 5, 1989, interview when he said that Arafat's threat squared very badly
with the U.S. understanding of the PLO's renunciation of terrorism. The various incursions of PLO constituent groups into Lebanon, and Arafat's failure to date to denounce those terrorist actions, also are inconsistent with his pledge.
There is also the specter of PLO involvement in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21. This bombing, which killed 270 people, took place only 1 week after the United States decided to open talks with the PLO based on its renunciation of terrorism.
Last October, West German police arrested members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] with radio cassette players containing explosive devices that could be detonated at high altitude. When Pan Am flight 103 crashed, the police established that the explosives that caused the crash were in a radio cassette player exactly like those found during the arrest of PFLP terrorists. This finding raises a strong suspicion of the involvement of this group in the planning of the crash.
Given the fact that a representative of the PFLP sits on the Executive Committee of the Palestine National Council, the governing body of the PLO, possible involvement of the PFLP in the Pan Am crash raises further questions about the PLO's ability to fulfill its commitment to renounce terrorism.
I believe that Arafat's December statements of moderation resulted from firm American insistence since 1975 on those conditions as a prerequisite for opening a dialog between the United States and the PLO. The success of that policy demonstrates that clearly anounced U.S. foreign policy goals, when adhered to, achieve results.
Mr. President, when the United States began its dialog with the PLO, it was premised on the bedrock assumptions that Arafat would renounced terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist. If the administration is pressing the PLO to make good on these commitments, that is not clear to me. I do not see evidence that Arafat is being held to his words or that those words are being matched with deeds.
If the administration decides to continue the dialog, strong pressure must be kept on the PLO to live up to Arafat's promises and surely the dialog should be discontinued if those promises are not or cannot be kept. Arafat must denounce all acts of terrorism, and the leadership of Palestinian factions that continue to perpetrate terrorism. Arafat should put his words into writing by changing or revising the PLO's covenant, which is still committed to armed struggle and the destruction of Israel.
The administration began this dialog with the specific understanding that it was contingent on the PLO's remaining true to its words. Congress seeks, through this resolution, to inform itself of whether the PLO is doing so. I urge my colleagues to swiftly adopt this resolution.