The measure, which calls for Syria to cease providing support and safe haven to ““terrorist organizations”” and to ““let Lebanon be ruled by the Lebanese people without the presence of [the Syrian] occupation army,”” was one of several put forward by Congress in April 2002 to support Israel and to isolate the Palestinians in the wake of Operation Defensive Shield and other major Israeli operations against the occupied territories (see Quarterly update in JPS 124). Work on the bill was suspended, however, at President Bush's request so as not to ““complicate or even undermine”” efforts to promote an Israeli-Syrian agreement. Following the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the bill was revived in April 2003, with the White House subsequently quietly informing Congress that it would no longer oppose it; Congress rushed to resume debate immediately after Israel's 5 October 2003 air strike on an alleged Palestinian training camp in Syria. The final draft was approved on 15 October by the House (398-4) and on 11 November by the Senate (89-4), and signed into law by Bush on 12 December 2003. Although the act allows the president to waive sanctions on security grounds, Bush informed Congress on 12 February 2004 of his intention to impose sanctions soon. At press time, the administration was reportedly trying to fashion a sanctions package that would be harsh enough to demonstrate resolve to punish Syria, but not so harsh as to cause Damascus to suspend intelligence cooperation with the U.S. on al-Qa‘‘ida. The text is available on the Library of Congress Web site at

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