web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Eliot Engel’

Pressure on EU to Label Hezbollah Terrorists after Bulgaria Bombing

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Following the bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last summer, the government of Bulgaria engaged in an extensive investigtation to determine how the terrorist attack took place in their country.

On July 18, 2012, as Israeli tourists vacationing in Bulgaria began to board their tour bus in the Black Sea city of Burgas on the way back to their hotel, an explosion ripped through the bus, killing 5 Israelis plus the Bulgarian bus driver, and injuring 32 other Israelis.

The results are in, and Bulgaria has officially concluded that Hezbollah was behind the bombing.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov spoke with reporters on Tuesday, February 5, after his country’s national security council met to discuss the investigation, which revealed that three people were involved in the attack, two of whom had legitimate passports, one from Australia and one from Canada.

“There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects,” Tsvetanov said.  He also revealed that based on the evidence they have reviewed, there is “a well-grounded assumption that the two persons whose real identity has been determined belonged to the military wing of Hezbollah.”

Initial reports, based on CCTV video footage, suggested that the attack was by a long-haired Caucasian Western suicide bomber who was dressed in beach shorts and carrying a fake Michigan driver’s license.  The Bulgarian report concluded that the explosion was instead caused by a “sophisticated” bomb that was detonated by remote control. It is unclear why the bomb was activated before all the tourists boarded the bus, but there is speculation that was either a malfunction or occurred as the result of the transmitting device being jostled.

Israel, the United States and other countries are cautiously optimistic that, with the independent report produced by the Bulgarians, the European Union will finally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist enterprise.  The U.S. placed Hezbollah on its official Foreign Terrorist Organization list in the 1990s.

In order for the EU to follow suit, there needs to be a unanimous vote by all EU nation members.  If that happens, the EU would then be able to freeze Hezbollah assets in Europe, and it could also issue travel bans on Hezbollah members.

Iran, the financial, political and military sponsor of Hezbollah, denied responsibility for the attack, and instead blamed Israel for carrying out the terrorist bombing.

Top leadership of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee issued statements today, February 5, calling on the EU to officially list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman, and Eliot Engel (NY-16), the committee’s top Democrat, both issued statements.

Engel said, “The targetting of innocents cannot be tolerated by any European Union state and must be condemned forcefully and unanimously by all member nations.

“The time is now for the EU to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization and punish these murderers.”

Cong. Royce, a California Republican, was even more pointed.  Calling the EU’s reluctance to make the designation “incomprehensible,” he said

“Recent Hezbollah plots have been uncovered in Thailand, India, Cyprus, Georgia, Kenya, and elsewhere.   Now that Hezbollah has been found responsible for an attack on a European Union member nation, the E.U. must designate it as a terrorist organization.  Failure to do so will only give these killers the opportunity to further organize, recruit, raise funds, and carry out additional terrorist attacks across the continent.

In one of his first statements as secretary of state, John Kerry added the voice of the U.S. administration in calling on the EU to respond appropriately to Bulgaria’s confirmation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization with global reach.

“We strongly urge other governments around the world – and particularly our partners in Europe – to take immediate action to crack down on Hizbollah,” Kerry said in a statement. “We need to send an unequivocal message to this terrorist group that it can no longer engage in despicable actions with impunity.”

John O. Brennan, who has been named by President Barack Obama to head the Central Intelligence Agency and who is currently the president’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, said Bulgaria’s investigation had exposed Hezbollah as “a terrorist group that is willing to recklessly attack innocent men, women, and children, and that poses a real and growing threat not only to Europe, but to the rest of the world.”

Congress to Obama: Time to Punish Arabs for Blowing Up Oslo and Blowing Off the US

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

A bi-partisan majority of congressional members sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama late last week.  In the letter, the members insist that the time has come for this U.S. government to hold the Arab Palestinian leadership responsible for their bald refusal to comply with repeated requests from the United States government to refrain from seeking an enhanced status at the United Nations General Assembly, as is required of the Arabs under the Oslo Agreements under which it is bound.

The PLO pledged in the Oslo Agreements that it would take no unilateral actions to change the status of the disputed territories and Gaza.

Congressional leadership that has long been involved in working with Israel and the Arab Palestinians in attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict, such as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee, U.S. Reps. Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY, Chairman-designate and Ranking Member-designate, respectively, of the Committee, along with more than 230 other members of  Congress, signed and sent the letter to the President on Friday, December 21.

The letter informed the President that “we believe the United States must react strongly to the ‘Palestinian’ leadership’s failure to uphold its obligations,” and explained that in order to send a clear message of U.S. disapproval, the Arab leaders must learn that their actions are not “cost-free,” and, “at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-’Palestinian’ relations.”

Congressional members suggested that the minimal steps the U.S. should take at this time would be to close the PLO office in Washington, D.C. and to call on the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem – who is, illogically, responsible for relations with the Arab Palestinians but not Jewish or Arab Israelis – back to Washington for consultations.

The congressional letter to President Obama points out the necessity for the U.S. government to ensure that the UNGA vote on November 29 “does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums.”

Should the PLO attempt to force its hand by seeking membership in those other UN institutions, the congressional members told President Obama that, “we should do everything possible to make sure that does not happen, including by reaffirming our commitment to maintaining and enforcing U.S. laws that require withholding U.S. contributions from any international forum that grants membership to the PLO.”

The PLO envoy in Washington, Maen Aerikat, told the Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, that the congressional letter “is an attempt by Congress to undermine the U.S. administration in any possible role it is planning to play in Palestinian affairs.”

In addition to pointing out that “punitive measures won’t pay off.  If they were effective we would have already changed our mind,” Aerikat railed at Israel, suggesting it was behind the congressional effort.  He said, “It is a political decision, a decision on the part of the Israeli government to escalate things against the Palestinian people at home and here…the U.S. is their other front.”

In a letter circulated to members of Congress by the PLO Envoy on December 14, Aerikat sought to dissuade Congress from responding to the PA provocation.  Aerikat makes several points in his letter, one of which should qualify for the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.  Perhaps he forgot that the action taken by Congress was in response to the decision by his colleagues to spurn dialogue and negotation, and instead to take unilateral action by introducing a one-sided resolution at the U.N.  This is what Aerikat wrote:

Engagement and dialogue is the only way to express the views of Congress.  Biased and one-sided resolutions cannot contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive for a political resolution to the conflict.

Not all Jews supported the congressional effort.  In the interview with Ma’an, Aerikat appreciatively listed both J Street and Americans for Peace Now as organizations that oppose the initiative to punish the Arab Palestinians for violating the Oslo Accords by seeking unilateral changes through the UN vote.  Although not mentioned by the PLO Envoy, the Union for Reform Judaism has also actively lobbied against congressional efforts to shutter the PLO Office.

Rep. Engel In L.A.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The Los Angeles Jewish community recently welcomed Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), a strong supporter and vocal advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.

 

Engel was hosted by Melanie and Robert Rechnitz, and was greeted by a cross-section of Democrats and Republicans. Attendees asked Engel a range of questions about Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama, the Iranian nuclear threat, Iraq, U.S. and Israeli relations with Turkey, the J Street lobbying group, and other issues concerning Israel and the American Jewish community.

 

 

 

 

(L-R) Robert and Melanie Rechnitz of Los Angeles host

gathering for Rep. Eliot Engel of New York.

 

Rep. Engel In L.A.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The Los Angeles Jewish community recently welcomed Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), a strong supporter and vocal advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.

 

Engel was hosted by Melanie and Robert Rechnitz, and was greeted by a cross-section of Democrats and Republicans. Attendees asked Engel a range of questions about Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama, the Iranian nuclear threat, Iraq, U.S. and Israeli relations with Turkey, the J Street lobbying group, and other issues concerning Israel and the American Jewish community.

 

 

 

 


(L-R) Robert and Melanie Rechnitz of Los Angeles host

gathering for Rep. Eliot Engel of New York.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/rep-engel-in-l-a-2/2010/07/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: