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Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 And 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BERKLEY. I thank the gentleman from California for yielding and for his extraordinary leadership not only for this bill but on our committee.

I rise today in support of this important bill. It contains a number of important elements that all of my colleagues should support. It increases our diplomatic corps dramatically, allowing the hiring of 1,500 additional Foreign Service officers over the next 2 years; it increases our financing of peacekeeping missions in Darfur and Chad; it doubles the size of the Peace Corps and sets out a plan for better response to humanitarian needs worldwide.

The bill also contains a sense of Congress calling for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. He has been held hostage for nearly 3 years, and it's time that he be brought home to his family and his loved ones. If there is ever to be a Palestinian state, returning Gilad Shalit would be a true demonstration that the Palestinians are capable of self-governance and humanitarian behavior.

With that, I call on my colleagues to support this bill.

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Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope that I do not take the remainder of your time.

I am here to speak in strong support of this resolution. I think it's a very important one and one that needs to be stated in this legislation and stated far more often. The fact of the matter is is that Iran poses an existential threat to the entire civilized world. It is as much a threat to the United States and Europe and the Arab countries in the region as it is to Israel. A nuclear Iran cannot be allowed to happen. The only difference is that the President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, has singled out Israel for particular hatred and contempt and has threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

We have learned after Adolf Hitler that when the leader of a country threatens to exterminate you or wipe you off the map, you ought to take them seriously. So you have a President of Iran that is desperately attempting and rapidly attempting to acquire nuclear capability, not necessarily for peaceful means but for military means and a threat to Israel to wipe it off the map.

I suggest to you that this is a very dangerous combination, and that is why this resolution is important. And I thank the gentleman very much for introducing this amendment. I urge all of my colleagues to support it.

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