Senators Vow 'Vigorous' Support for Right of Jewish State to Defend Itself
Senators took time from a busy lame-duck session today to throw their weight behind Israel in the face of continuous rocket attacks from Gaza.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing Israel’s right to self-defense in the latest conflict with Hamas.
It's currently co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The resolution expresses “vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders,” and recognizes “its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.”
“Israel is our greatest friend in the region and one of our strongest allies in the world,” Toomey said. “In the face of unrelenting attacks from a terrorist organization bent on destroying the Jewish state, Israel has every right to defend its borders and its citizens. I’m glad President Obama has voiced his support for Israel during this trying time, and I urge our allies around the world to do the same.”
Cardin called on Hamas to stop the rocket attacks.
“I strongly support Israel’s right to defend its citizens against threats to its security and existence," he said. "The recent military action in Gaza is a direct response to numerous and ongoing rocket attacks from militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza, which have injured dozens of Israeli citizens. I am deeply saddened by the continued violence and loss of innocent lives."
Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by phone yesterday.
"The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate," said a statement from the press secretary. "The President also spoke with President Morsi given Egypt’s central role in preserving regional security. In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense. The two leaders agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead."
This afternoon, AIPAC praised "the solid bi-partisan expressions of solidarity with Israel from the Obama Administration and the United States Congress."
"No nation can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population. In the past year, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel, has suffered from over 800 rocket attacks originating in Gaza," the lobbying organization said.