U.S. lawmakers meet Israeli leaders


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. congressional delegation in Israel met with Israeli leaders to discuss Iran, Lebanon and Gilad Shalit.

Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and his delegation sat down Tuesday and Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni, as well as other Israeli officials.

Klein told reporters during a conference call from Israel that Netanyahu and Livni were pleased with the Iran sanctions and have seen companies already withdrawing from the country. He also said both leaders were concerned about the recent clash between Israeli and Lebanese soldiers on Israel’s northern border.

Klein traveled to Israel with Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Steve Kagan (D-Wisc.) and Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Since Lebanon apparently attacked Israeli soldiers first, Klein said the Congress may be hesitant to continue to provide aid to the country.

If it turns out that the Lebanese government authorized the attack, “a lot of members [of Congress] will be very concerned about offering continued support for Lebanon,” he said.

The delegation learned about a Palestinian Authority-backed security force that trains men and women about human rights and security issues. Jointly supported by the United States, Canada, Jordan, Israel and the PA, candidates are proposed by the Palestinian Authority and then vetted by Israel and Jordan. Klein called it a huge success.

Klein met with Noam Shalit, father of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, to mark 1,500 days of Gilad’s captivity by Hamas in Gaza.

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