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November 14, 2019 11:42 am

Front-Runner Democratic Presidential Candidates Tout Support for Iron Dome, Back Israel’s Right to Self-Defense

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A trail of smoke is seen as a rocket is fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, Nov. 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem. – A number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have reacted to the barrage of rocket fire launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip since Tuesday.

Former vice president and Democratic front-runner Joe Biden touted his support for the Iron Dome air-defense system, which has been exhibiting a 90 percent effective rate against rockets in the latest escalation.

“Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats. It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks. That’s why our administration was such a strong supporter of Israel’s life-saving Iron Dome,” tweeted Biden.

Similarly, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told JNS that she is also proud to have supported Iron Dome.

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“The latest barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza on innocent Israelis cannot be tolerated—Israel has the right to defend itself from these horrific attacks. I join others in urging against further escalation,” said Harris. “I strongly support funding of the Iron Dome missile-defense system, which is, once again, saving countless Israeli lives.”

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg also criticized the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and said he supported Israel’s right to self-defense.

“I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” tweeted South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Other leading candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who have been critical of Israel—and in Sanders case, have proposed cutting US military aid to Israel for humanitarian relief in Gaza—have so far not weighed in on the recent flare-up.

Nevertheless, several of the other candidates in the wide field vocalized their support for Israel as well.

“I stand with Israel as terrorists backed by Iran fire rockets targeting innocent civilians. I support Israel’s right to defend its citizens from these heinous and cowardly attacks,” tweeted Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

However, author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson told JNS that blame lies on both sides.

“As is the case so often in Israeli and Palestinian politics, it is reasonable to say ‘Pox on both your houses.’ On one hand, it is absolutely a violation of international law for Gaza to fire rockets into civilian territory within Israel. I condemn it in no uncertain terms,” said Williamson. “On the other hand, until Israel ends the blockade and paves the way to a better life for people living within the Gaza Strip, societal violence of this kind should be considered inevitable.”

“For any country, large groups of desperate people should be considered a national security risk,” she continued. “As president, I would push for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, with an understanding that until conditions for people living in Gaza are improved then such a ceasefire is not likely to occur.”

“Rocket attacks on Israel continue. My thoughts are with those living in fear and terror because of these attacks. The United States must continue to support Israel’s security,” tweeted Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“Rocket attacks against innocent civilians are unacceptable. Israel has the right to self-defense against attacks by terror groups inside Gaza. De-escalation is the only path forward to peace and stability,” tweeted Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

Finally, former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) told JNS, “I condemn this latest violence, while recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense. This highlights the profound need to get back to the negotiating table.”

He continued, “Until there is a final peace settlement, there will continue to be violence. It is incumbent on the United States and allies to convene the responsible parties together to negotiate a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Israel may be safe, but it will not be secure until there is a final settlement.”

The Israel Defense Forces said at least 350 rockets have been launched in the direction of Israel from the Gaza Strip since rocket fire began early on Tuesday as reports of a ceasefire were emerging late Wednesday.

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