Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 297) condemning the bombing of the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires, as amended.
The Clerk read as follows:
Whereas a terrorist bomb destroyed the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 17, 1992;
Whereas at least 24 innocent individuals died and 250 innocent individuals were wounded as a result of the detonation of the bomb;
Whereas the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for the bombing; and
Whereas the bombing is an atrocity: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate Concurring), That the Congress--
(1) condemns the bombing of the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 17, 1992;
(2) mourns the victims of the bombing;
(3) extends its condolences to the families and friends of the victims; and
(4) declares that the Government of the United States should continue to cooperate fully with the Government of Argentina and the Government of Israel in identifying and bringing to justice all of the individuals responsible for the planning, preparation, and execution of the bombing.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Hamilton] will be recognized for 20 minutes, and the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Broonfield] will be recognized for 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Hamilton].
Mr. HAMILTON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of House Concurrent Resolution 297, a resolution condemning the March 17, 1992, bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in which 24 people were killed and some 250 were wounded.
This resolution was introduced March 20 by Congresswoman Meyers of Kansas and I commend her for her leadership in bringing this resolution before the Congress.
Even though there is still an international investigation underway to try to find out the perpetrators of this terrorist attack, many American observers close to this incident see the evidence pointing to Iran and feel that this attack was in response to the death of the Hizbollah leader Abbas Musawi in southern Lebanon.
I do not know the reasons for this senseless attack or who carried it out, but I consider the resolution important as a reminder of the problem of international terrorism and of the need for all of us to work to reduce terrorism and to make governments and individuals supporting terrorism accountable.
I urge adoption of the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BROOMFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I support this resolution and commend Congresswoman Jan Meyers for sponsoring this important legislative initiative.
I wish to join all my colleagues in strongly condemning this bombing. Our hearts go out to the Israelis and Argentines who died or were injured in this senseless attack. All indications point to the Islamic Jihad, a pro-Iranian terrorist group, as the organization responsible for this horrible attack.
I am greatly concerned about this bombing because it occurred in a country that was considered extremely unlikely to have a terrorist attack of this nature. It is especially disturbing as a sign that the Islamic Jihad may be planning additional attacks on other Israeli embassies and possibly U.S. diplomatic posts overseas.
I strongly urge the Department of State to enhance its security at American facilities around the world in response to this tragic bombing. I also urge the Department to continue to emphasize security and not drop the protections against terrorism.
Mr. Speaker, the recent attack in Buenos Aires is proof positive that terrorist madmen are still waiting for opportunities to take the lives of the innocent. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from Kansas [Mrs. Meyers], the principal sponsor of the resolution.
Mrs. MEYERS of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the leadership on the committee, the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Fascell], the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Hamilton], the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Broomfield], and the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman] for assisting me in bringing this measure to the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution. In a way this is an inadequate response to the atrocity that occurred on March 17. It is just one more expression of outrage over a despicable crime, and sympathy for those whose lives have been shattered by it.
The terrorist bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires killed 32 innocent people and left another 250 wounded. The President immediately condemned the attack and offered American assistance to the Argentines and Israelis to investigate this crime. I believe it is important for Congress to make its own statement condemning this terrorist act extending sympathy to the families and supporting President Bush's offer of American cooperation with the Argentines and Israelis to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The sophistication of the bombing attack is evidence that this was an act of state-sponsored terrorism. Investigators are still picking through the debris, looking for clues. FBI forensic teams are analyzing the results. This investigation is obviously going to take an enormous amount of time and effort. We must emphasize that the United States will be in it for the long haul, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring the terrorists to justice. We must make it clear to the world that American resolve against international terrorism is as strong as ever.
Mr. BROOMFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman], who sponsored this resolution.
(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my strong support for House Concurrent Resolution 297, a resolution regarding the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and I commend the gentlelady from Kansas [Mrs. Meyers] for her thoughtful and timely measure, and I further commend the distinguished ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Mr. Broomfield. On March 17, 1992, at least 24 innocent individuals died and 250 innocent persons were wounded as a result of this diabolical and despicable act.
We have followed the activities of the terrorist organization responsible for this act for quite some time now. They have been responsible for acts of murder and brutality in the West Bank and Gaza. We know they have as their objective the termination of the peace process as well as the ultimate destruction of Israel.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the gentlewoman from Kansas in expressing my condolences to the families and friends of the victims. I also join in calling upon our Nation to fully cooperate with the Government of Israel in identifying and bringing to justice all of the terrorists involved in every phase of the operation. We must make our message resoundingly clear: that violence only begets further violence. Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I urge the unanimous passage of this resolution.
Mr. PORTER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Michigan for yielding time to me.
Mr. Speaker, I strongly support House Concurrent Resolution 297 which condemns the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and urges continued United States support to the Argentines to identify and bring to justice the cowards who perpetrated this crime. I thank the gentlewoman, Representative Meyers, for introducing and showing strong leadership on this important piece of legislation.
On March 17 a huge blast rocked central Buenos Aires, destroying the 5-story Israeli Embassy, killing 24 innocent individuals and injuring over 250, including 13 in a nearby school. The death and destruction was wanton and indiscriminate. The bomb--between 45 and 90 pounds of high explosives--was apparently either secreted into the Embassy in a load of construction materials or planted in a truck outside the Embassy. When it exploded, it killed passersby, workers, elderly people, children, Israeli Embassy personnel, and everyone else in the vicinity. It was not a focused, well-planned attack. It was an attack against humanity, targeting any living person who might randomly be strolling down a main boulevard in Buenos Aires on a Tuesday afternoon.
It was not a political statement. It was pure terrorism that took fathers from their families and children from their parents. It has caused immense human suffering that will do nothing to further any political cause. In fact, heartless, mindless violence like the Buenos Aires bombing will only serve to turn all civilized people against the cause that promoted it.
This bombing was the work of desperate people supporting a failing and illegitimate cause through barbaric means. No one can look at this tragedy and emote the tiniest scintilla of support for its perpetrators or their causes.
The Argentine police are working closely with Israeli's Mossad secret service and the Central Intelligence Agency to locate and punish the criminals who planned and carried out this atrocity.
Recently the Washington Times has reported that U.S. investigators have strong indications that Iranian diplomats may have helped plan the attack and it is rumored that the diplomats may have even slipped the explosives into Argentina in an Iranian diplomatic pouch. These charges must be investigated fully and if they are true, I would call on the United States and all other nations to cut off all relations with Iran and any other nations implicated in the crime.
Again, I thank Mrs. Meyers for bringing this important bill to the floor and for keeping this issue at such a high profile and I strongly support its passage.
Mr. BROOMFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Hamilton] that the House suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 297, as amended.
The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended, and the concurrent resolution, as amended, was agreed to.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.