WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee today passed H.Res.137, a resolution offered by Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) to honor the life and legacy of the late Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Cicilline, who is a strong advocate for strengthening ties between the United States and Israel, attended Prime Minister Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem last year with President Obama and other American dignitaries.
Embedded below is the full text of Cicilline’s remarks, as delivered in Committee today.
David N. Cicilline
March 29, 2017
Thank you Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for holding this markup today.
As always, I am pleased this Committee has come together in a spirit of bipartisanship to pass legislation that deals with a variety of important issues.
All of the measures being considered today are worthy and help advance important causes over which this committee has jurisdiction.
I am proud to be a cosponsor of many of these bills, and the lead sponsor of H. Res. 137, which honors the life of Israeli leader Shimon Peres.
This resolution, which has the support of 48 bipartisan cosponsors, including many Members of this Committee, recognizes the important achievements of Shimon Peres in building the state of Israel, leading it as its Prime Minister and later President, and striving to achieve peace. Shimon Peres was devoted to the cause of the Jewish State and worked tirelessly to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East. He was a founding father of the State of Israel and remained, throughout his life, one of its greatest champions. He was a central architect of the Oslo Accords and was respected around the world for his strong leadership as Prime Minister and President of Israel. His example should be an inspiration to us all.
Shimon Peres was an immigrant who left Poland in the early 1920s to seek a better life in what was then the British-controlled Palestinian mandate. After the recognition of the state of Israel by the international community Peres became one of its leading political figures and helped guide the country through the hope and turmoil of its early days.
Along with David Ben-Gurion Peres helped establish the labor party in 1968. He then went on to serve his country for nearly 50 years in various capacities including as Defense Minister, a member of the parliament - the Knesset, Prime-Minister, and ultimately, President. Mr. Peres was instrumental in negotiating the Oslo Accords, which set the framework for a negotiated settlement and closer working relationship between Israel and the Palestinian people.
Mr. Peres was a pillar of stability as he lead the Israeli people as Prime Minister during the frightening and turbulent period following the tragic murder of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
And in 1996, still resolved to achieve a lasting peace, he founded the Peres Center for Peace, dedicated to promoting peace-building and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians;
Mr. Peres once said that life’s purpose was “To find a cause that's larger than yourself and then to give your life to it.” And he truly embodied that sentiment.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Peres numerous times over the years and the last time we spoke, in March 2015, we discussed our mutual hopes for a peaceful future for Israel. With this resolution we honor the outstanding work that Shimon Peres did over the course of his inspirational life. And I urge us all to live by his example, dedicating our lives to a cause we believe in, and hope that we may honor his memory by assisting Israelis and Palestinians in achieving a lasting peace.
I want to thank the Chairman and Ranking Member for bringing this resolution before the Committee today and thank my colleagues for their bipartisan support for this measure. I yield back my time.