WASHINGTON (JTA) – A Pennsylvania congressman apologized for sending out a letter that called for Middle East peace negotiations between the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the comatose former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The office of U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Republican, said Tuesday that the letter to a constituent picking up language from an old form letter was sent last month in error.
"Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns," the letter began. "… With the global war against terrorism, it is now incumbent on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat to clamp down on Palestinian extremists that have perpetuated violence and to restart a peace process."
The constituent’s son, Ian Rhodewalt, posted the letter on the Mondoweiss website Sunday.
Pitts’ Democratic opponent in the November election didn’t let the error pass.
“Being this completely out of touch with such a major foreign-policy matter is inexcusable,” Aryanna Strader wrote in an email to supporters, according to the web site PoliticsPA. “If we are ever going to change Congress, we must change who we send there. And that is why I am asking you to please make a $16 contribution to our campaign today.”
Pitts has served on the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees.