Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate after introducing S. Res. 10, a bipartisan resolution recognizing the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I rise to voice my strong support of a resolution in support of Israel that I have introduced with Leader McConnell, along with an overwhelming number of bipartisan cosponsors. When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the State of Israel by reaffirming Israel’s inalienable right to defend against attacks from Gaza, as well as our support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“I spoke with Prime Minister Olmert last week and again expressed my understanding of and appreciation for the terrible situation that Israel has faced. Hamas has been firing rockets and mortars into Israel, killing and maiming innocent Israeli civilians, for more than eight years.
“I ask my colleagues to imagine if this were happening here in the United States and rocket fire was coming from Vancouver, Canada, into Seattle. Would the United States react? Of course we would. We would have to react to protect our people, and it would be not only our right but our obligation to do so. That is what the Israelis have done.
“Hamas must stop the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. That is the stated objective of the Israelis.
“I acknowledge and appreciate the calls by some for a cease-fire. Certainly we must encourage a peaceful resolution of the conflict. But we must be certain that any cease-fire is sustainable, durable, and enforceable.
“Our resolution reflects these sentiments. It states that:
- The United States Senate stands with Israel at this critical moment and recognizes Israel’s right to self-defense;
- Hamas must end the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel;
- Any cease-fire must be durable, enforceable and sustainable;
- The lives of innocent civilians should be protected; and
- We support a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a strong and secure Israeli living in peace with an independent Palestinian state.
“I encourage all of my colleagues to support this critical expression of support for our steadfast ally, the State of Israel.”