A Wisconsin Congressman is back from a trip to Israel. 3rd District Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse was part of a contingent of legislators that went to the middle east a week ago to discuss the proposed Iran nuclear deal and also the possibility of peace talks with Israel and the Palestinians.
Kind says as expected, Israel has questions and concerns, as do many Americans. “Israel has some concerns about the recent Iranian nuclear agreement. We met with the Prime Minister there, members of the Israeli Defense Ministry, even members of the opposition parties to go over the agreement and concerns that they may have, and what more we can do to better ensure and enhance the security of Israel in a very tough neighborhood.”
Kind says the people and leaders of Israel are very skeptical of the Iran agreement, and he expected that. “If you’re a nation comprised of citizens when during the second World War (experienced) holocaust, you do tend to take threats from neighboring nations that vow to obliterate you and wipe you off the face of the earth very seriously, and unfortunately, that’s been the rhetoric coming out of Iran lately.”
Congressman Kind has not yet decided if he will support or oppose the Iran nuclear agreement, but says this trip will help put several issues into perspective. The one thing he’s sure of, is Iran must be checked and double-checked every step of the way if this agreement is put into place. “This is not a matter of trust and verify. This is a matter of don’t trust and double-down on verifying to ensure that Iran is doing everything that they claim that they intend to do, but having said that, I think the meetings last week in Israel were helpful, and brought a better understanding for us their perspectives.”
The Iran nuclear agreement wasn’t the only topic of discussion. Kind says the American leaders are hoping the peace talks can resume. “We also took some time to get into the West Bank, where we met with President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, including the Finance Minister, to see what can be done to jump start the peace talks between the P-A and Israel. It’s been kind of in a holding pattern. Not much has happened recently. We think it’s important to try to move forward.”
It is unclear when Congress will take up the Iran nuclear agreement. Republicans and some Democrats plan to vote against it, but it’s unclear if there are enough votes to prevent President Obama from enacting it.