Mr. Speaker, I rise today in defense of our ally, Israel, and her sovereign right to self-defense.
As we all know, Israel lives in a difficult neighborhood of instability, violence, and uncertainty. In the towns of Israel’s southern border, families have become accustomed to running for shelter to avoid rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
But nothing could provide preparation or justification for the onslaught of missile fire raining down on Israeli towns and cities over the past few months, nor the escalated barrage of the last few days.
Since the beginning of 2012, Hamas has launched more than 900 rockets at the State of Israel. 340 of these were in the past several days alone. In the face of this brutality, Israel, like any nation, has the right and duty to protect her citizens from unwarranted violence and destruction.
Two days ago, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense… a legal, proportionate, surgical strike aimed exclusively at Hamas’s missile stockpile and terrorist leadership. We watch with deep concern for the people of Israel as these events continue to unfold and we remain united in our support of Israel’s sovereign right to self-defense.
I am proud that the Iron Dome missile defense system has provided a bulwark of support in this tragic and frightening time. We mourn the loss of life and send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. We reject Hamas’s call to violence, pray for the most minimal of casualties, and remain ever hopeful for a return to calm and peace.
Thank you, and I yield back the remainder of my time.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican who represents part of South Broward issued this statement late Friday:
“The brutal barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip, controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, must stop. No country should be subjected to have its civilian population under constant attack. Congress stands firmly with our friend Israel, and steadfastly supports our great ally’s right to protect itself from terrorist threats.”
“At this difficult time, it is vital that the United States stand with Israel and its right to defend its civilians and its national security. We must also be vigilant to stop any possible international efforts, such as in the UN, that may use this incident in an attempt to delegitimize Israel.”