Videos & Speeches

For three weeks we have seen the fighting going on in Israel and the Gaza Strip carried on between the Israeli military and Hamas. In both Gaza and Israel lives, unfortunately, are being lost, homes are destroyed, families are devastated, security is threatened, and daily life is polluted by this war.

Since the fighting began, Hamas has made it abundantly clear that  it is unwilling to behave in any responsible manner. The organization is using civilian areas such as schools and hospitals, mosques and playgrounds, as rocket-launching sites. Caches of rockets have been discovered inside two Gaza schools sponsored by the United Nations. A chance for peace emerged when Egypt put forward a cease-fire plan that Israel agreed to. Hamas refused to cease hostilities. Later, Israel agreed to a temporary truce, the pause requested by Hamas to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Despite Israeli cooperation, Hamas quickly violated the cease-fire, resuming rocket launches into Israeli territory.

Hamas’ actions seek to kill and terrorize those across the Israeli border while they also do great harm to the people of Gaza. Ending the rocket attacks would hasten the end to the current violence and bloodshed that has taken a disproportionate toll on Gazan lives.

On July 17, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution to express American support for Israel’s self-defense efforts and called for an immediate cessation of Hamas' attacks against Israel. Senate Resoultion 498 also serves as a reminder to anyone ascribing legitimacy to Hamas’ deadly aggression toward Israel; despite any governing agreement with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’ violence is not legitimate in the eyes of the United States of America. Since 1997, Hamas has been included on the U.S. State Department’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations. The group’s ongoing attack on civilian targets further justifies this designation.

Hamas’ participation in a unity government limits improvements to life in Gaza as American law restricts U.S. aid to Palestinian groups aligned with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Gaza’s poor economic condition that state that it’s in, which is cited by Hamas as justification for their attacks on Israel, has not at all improved by Hamas’ belligerence. Instead, Hamas’ strategy of violence only worsens Gaza’s economic outlook. Hamas’ actions compound the consequences of funding weapons and smuggling tunnels rather than investing in the future of Gaza and its people. The point being that what Hamas is doing is damaging to the people of not only Israel but to the folks who live in Gaza.

This reality begs observers to question Hamas's commitment to the people it supposedly represents. Since the beginning of the current conflict, Hamas's commitment to violence against Israel appears to be their primary mission, not the care and well being of their people. Unless

cessation of hostilities becomes Hamas’ priority, Israel will retain and must retain the right to defend its people and the welfare of those living in Gaza will regretfully continue to deteriorate.

Americans would not tolerate this. We would not. Our constituents would be insistent that we not tolerate the threat of terrorism that Israel faces on a daily basis. Since 1947, attacks from its neighboring Arab states have repeatedly forced Israel to defend its people.

This Senate has and will continue to demonstrate that the United States of America stands with Israel, especially during these turbulent times as Israel takes necessary action to reduce Hamas’ means of terror, to disarm those who stand firmly in the way of a real and lasting peace.