Israel’s Right to Protect Itselfby Representative Vicky Hartzler
Posted on 2014-07-29
HARTZLER. I thank the gentleman from Utah. I appreciate you
leading this critical Special Order tonight.
It has been a dangerous few weeks in Israel. We have been watching the developments between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as Israel shows restraint while still protecting its citizens.
Quite simply, Israel is under siege by a radical faction that displays blatant disregard for its citizens. Hamas is using its citizens as human shields, building bombs in the basements of schools and homes, and prohibiting families from evacuating areas where rockets are being launched.
Israel has shown tremendous restraint and has every right to defend itself against these unwarranted attacks. Over 2,000 rockets have been launched into Israel, reaching even Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Over 80 percent of the country's citizens have had to huddle in bomb shelters for parts of 3 weeks now.
Over 6 million men, women, and children are endangered, yet Israel has [[Page H7029]] agreed to cease-fire after cease-fire. Unfortunately, Hamas has not abided by these calls, firing dozen of rockets into Israel, even when Israel was ceasing its efforts to protect its citizens, so that humanitarian assistance could arrive to the people in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has gone above and beyond for years now to help the people of Gaza and give them an opportunity for a better life. Nine years ago, Israel moved totally out of Gaza, giving the land and farms and greenhouses to people of Gaza. 10,000 Israeli lives were disrupted as they moved to Israel.
Generous people all over the world raised money to buy the tractors and farm equipment for the people of Gaza. The area could have become the jewel of the Mediterranean and a peaceful neighbor to Israel--a model of a two-state solution. Instead, they tore down the greenhouses. Instead of building roads and homes, they built tunnels with the intent to attack and kill Israelis. They voted Hamas in power and turned the area into a terrorist military outpost.
So here we are today, while Hamas is bent on killing innocent Israelis, Israel is intent on preserving their lives. As they seek to stop the rocket fire in the Gaza Strip, Israel goes to great lengths to save innocent lives. It drops leaflets into the neighborhoods, warning of an impending military attack to take out the rocket launchers, which are often strategically placed by Hamas in the neighborhoods.
It then calls the residents of the house to warn them, then sends text messages to the home, then ``knocks'' on the house by dropping a small nonpenetrating bomb on the roof to let people know they are serious. Unfortunately, Hamas has responded by stopping people from fleeing and even forcing them onto the rooftops as human shields.
Thankfully, the Iron Dome missile defense system has stopped rockets from reaching their targets in Israel. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: Israel uses its missile defense system to save human lives. Hamas uses its people to save its missiles.
We need to be standing strong for the only democracy and our greatest ally in the Middle East. We need to let other nations know we will never abandon Israel, and they need to join us in speaking out against the affront to national sovereignty and to human decency. We need to be offering assistance to stop these attacks and help Israel stay safe.
It is time for Hamas to agree to a total cease-fire. Any loss of life is tragic, and Hamas needs to end their blatant disregard for their citizens and agree to end the attacks.
Please join me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem.