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US Senators, Representatives Voice Support for Israel as Conflict With Hamas Escalates

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

The US Capitol dome is seen in Washington, US, December 17, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Erin Scott

A number of US Senators and Congressional representatives voiced support for Israel’s campaign against the Hamas terrorist group Tuesday, as the Jewish state was targeted by a wave of hundreds of rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip that have so far killed three Israelis.

Rob Portman (R-OH) said Tuesday on Twitter, “Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks are unacceptable & endanger the lives of all innocent citizens. Israel has the right to defend itself against these acts of terror. I encourage both Israeli & Palestinian leaders to work toward de-escalating tensions.”

“Today my thoughts are with the Israeli people who are suffering from these acts of terrorism. Hamas’ actions are a significant escalation and unacceptable by any standard,” he added later.

Over 600 rockets have been fired at civilians in Israel over the course of Monday and Tuesday, including a wave Tuesday night of attacks at Tel Aviv and surrounding areas that killed a 50-year-old woman and injured several more. Two other women were killed earlier in the day after attacks on the southern city of Ashkelon.

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“Palestinians in Gaza must reject the futile terrorist cause of Hamas, which continues to block peace for this & future generations. I hope we see an immediate de-escalation, especially at religious sites,”said Sen. John Thune (R-SD).

A US State Department spokesman said that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had spoken to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. At a press conference following the most recent wave of rocket fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to expand the Israel Defense Forces campaign that has struck over 500 Hamas targets in Gaza.

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton said that “Hamas’s rockets are aimed at Israeli civilians and schools. Israel’s airstrikes are aimed at the terrorists launching the rockets. There is no comparison.”

“We continue to support our close ally #Israel in the face of numerous rocket attacks emanating from #Gaza. #Hamas’ escalating attacks against civilians are abhorrent and unacceptable,” tweeted Jim Risch (R-ID), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member.

On Monday, Jacky Rosen (D-NV) commented, “I strongly condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks targeting innocent Israeli civilians. Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorist attacks. As Iron Dome intercepts rockets raining down on Israeli communities, we are reminded that US security assistance saves lives. We should remain engaged to de-escalate tensions between all parties.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said, “I condemn the ongoing violence in Jerusalem, the sacred home of Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, and especially Hamas’ recent attacks on the holy city. The barrage of rocket attacks into Israel is an unacceptable escalation that must cease immediately. Actions like this are not consistent with the cause of peace.”

“Firing rockets at civilians in Israel is an act of terrorism, period,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY). “The latest rocket fire underscores the need for missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, which protects Israeli civilians — both Arabs and Jews — from the terrorism of Hamas.”

Other politicians pointed to clashes in Jerusalem surrounding a pending legal case that could see several Palestinian families evicted from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, supporting Israel’s operation against Hamas but criticizing the planned evictions and the response to protests from Israeli police.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said in a statement Monday, “I unequivocally condemn the abhorrent attacks being committed by Hamas and other groups against innocent Israeli citizens. There can be no justification for these indiscriminate acts of terrorism and I support Israel’s right to defend its citizens against such violence. I remain deeply concerned by the violence in Jerusalem, including Israeli police violence, and I urge all parties to exercise restraint. I also encourage the Government of Israel to halt the unjust eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.”

Grace Meng (D-NY), Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, said Tuesday: “My heart is with both Israeli and Palestinian families who have spent the night sheltering from bombs and incendiary balloons launched by Hamas. Israel has every right to defend itself from Hamas’s terrorist attacks and from rocket fire that threatens the lives of Israelis.”

“I urge calm and non-violence at the Temple Mount as we await a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court about the fate of Sheikh Jarrah,” she continued. “The Temple Mount is a religious miracle — a place where so many of different faiths find holiness and awe. I pray that this site can once again be a place of prayer for all who seek it.”

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