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AIPAC draft agenda: Iran, peace, terrorism

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The proposed AIPAC 2008 agenda focuses on isolating Iran and backing Israel’s efforts to achieve peace and repulse terrorism.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s executive committee, comprised in part by major American Jewish groups, meets next week during the AIPAC policy conference to consider the “action agenda,” the consensus document of the pro-Israel community.

Much of a draft proposal obtained by JTA focuses on backing existing efforts in Congress and elsewhere to further isolate Iran until it ends its suspected nuclear weapons program. The agenda also promotes Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region and the peace process.

“AIPAC will seek to build on the commitment of the administration and Congress to the security of Israel, to a peace process predicated on direct negotiations between Israel and her neighbors and the end of violence and incitement, to the United States’ and Israel’s war on terror, to the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, to democratic institution building in the Middle East, which includes true freedom of speech and press, and to a secure, just and lasting peace,” the preamble says.

The document cites legislation that sets standards for Palestinian statehood that include an end to terrorism and recognition of Israel, but omits efforts to help prop up Palestinian moderates through funding and other assistance that in recent years have garnered increased congressional backing. No mention is made of renewed Syrian-Israel peace talks.

Some of the agenda’s provisions could prove controversial: It conditions an interim Palestinian state on “the change to a democratically elected Palestinian leadership untainted by terror,” something the Bush administration believes is already in place in the Palestinian Authority.

It also calls on the U.S. government to back Israel’s right to determine “the execution of decisions concerning security barriers.” The Bush administration backs the barrier but has not endorsed its route, which cuts through West Bank lands claimed by Palestinians.

The agenda calls for Jerusalem to remain “united as the capital only of Israel.” Israeli and U.S. governments have not counted out an undivided city that would include a Palestinian capital in its suburbs.

On Iran, the document starts by urging the U.S. government to “take all appropriate measures to halt Iran’s pursuit of nuclear and 152 other weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.” Similar language in other contexts has unsettled some Democrats, who view it as licensing the Bush administration to launch military action against Iran.

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