NEWS: ISRAEL

Statements Supporting Israel from Elected Officials and Others

Governor Pat Quinn:

"Over the past few days, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel ñ with some landing near Jerusalem for the first time in decades. I stand by President Obama in strong support for our ally Israel and pray for an end to the tragic deaths of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians, and for a peaceful agreement to be reached soon."

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford:

"I offer my sincere condolences to my friends in Israel who are enduring the attacks of missiles being launched by Hamas from Gaza. I visited Sderot this year and met many people who make their homes in the region ñ the thought of innocent civilians living in constant fear of senseless terrorist acts is disturbing to me and all reasonable people. I strongly support the right of Israel to self defense."

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan:

"I continue my unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders. I recognize and strongly support its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism. I strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. l deeply regret the death and injury of all innocent civilians caused by the ensuing violence."

Deputy Majority Leader, Illinois State House Lou Lang:

"The civilized world must join us in condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas. The State of Israel has every right to defend itself and to protect its people. All of us abhor violence but, just as the United States has needed to defend its people from time to time in our country's history, so too shall we all stand with Israel as it responds to senseless and needless provocation. As Prime Minister Netanyahu so well said, "If Israel stopped fighting, there would be no Israel. If Hamas stopped fighting, there would be no war."

State Representative Karen May:

"Now more than ever, I stand with Israel. The latest escalation in violence is of grave concern for all Israelis and for the free world. I have personally visited Sderot and have seen the ongoing strain that attacks place on innocent children and families. In Israel today innocent citizens are forced to take shelter from missile attacks by those who are committed to the destruction of the Jewish State. Israel is a sovereign nation which has the right to exist and to defend itself from attacks from those who seek to destroy it. Free people everywhere must stand united to support Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East, and a beacon of democracy."

Senator Mark Kirk:

As terrorist rockets continue to fall on Israel, the United States Senate tonight unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution introduced by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Il) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and sponsored by 62 others, which strongly supports Israel's inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.

The resolution, S. Res. 599, was cosponsored by over half the Senate in a demonstration of widespread support for Israel as she defends herself from the constant barrage of hundreds of Gaza-based terrorist missiles targeting Israeli civilians. Nearly 1,000 terrorist missiles have been fired into Israel this year.

"The passage of this resolution sends a strong and clear message that the United States stands in solidarity with the State of Israel," Senator Kirk said. "Israel is a fellow democracy and has an inherent right to defend its citizens from terrorist missiles."

"We strongly reiterate our support for Israel's right to self-defense as a barrage of missiles from Gaza are attacking the people of Israel and endangering innocent lives," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "The passage of this Senate resolution clearly expresses the United States' unwavering commitment to the security of our nation's close and historic ally in the Middle East. We firmly stand united with Israel against terrorism."

"The resolution urges the President to work with the international community to prevent Hamas and other terrorist organizations within Gaza from retaining the ability to launch rockets against Israel, and calls on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Gaza-based attacks against Israel. Click here to read more."

Congressman Robert Dold:

Dear Friends,

As you know, Hamas has fired over 250 rockets into southern Israel over the past five days alone. My thoughts are with our allies in Israel during this difficult time.

Today, I spoke on the House floor to reassert Israel's right to self-defense... I will continue to stand by Israel and her right to self-defense, and will work to keep you updated on developments in region. Please don't hesistate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. View a video of his remarks.

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the recent events in the Middle East.

Our ally, Israel, like every nation, must have the right to defend itself and its citizens against ongoing acts of terror. Now, we know that the international community frequently looks for opportunities to delegitimize Israel's actions - which is why it is essential that we here in the United States of America, loudly and publicly, express our support for Israel's right to defend herself in the face of Hamas' terror.

Hamas is responsible for over 800 rocket attacks on Israel in 2012, with over 250 rockets indiscriminately fired on Israel's citizens in the past five days alone. Because of this escalation, one million men, women, and children in southern Israel have been forced to live under the threat of attacks and must now know where the nearest rocket shelters are located. And as I speak, thousands of Israelis are sleeping in bomb shelters out of fear for their lives and the lives of their children.

Mr. Speaker, no nation would sit back and tolerate its population living under such threatening conditions; certainly we here in the United States would not."

Congressman Randy Hultgren:

"No population should have to suffer the constant fear of having your home and your family threatened, but that is the situation millions of Israelis find themselves in today. Hamas and other militant groups are firing rockets at innocent civilians, and the world is shocked and saddened by the human cost of their actions. We, as a nation, stand by Israel in its time of need and reaffirm our commitment to aid them in their fight against this violent extremism."

Congressman Adam Kinzinger:

"I support Israel and respect each country's right to protect and defend its citizens from terrorist attacks. I am deeply saddened and concerned by the recent escalation of attacks and urge the State Department to assist in peace efforts. I am hopeful that a peaceful resolution can be achieved soon to end the violence."

Congressman Dan Lipinski:

"Over the past few days, the citizens of Israel have been barraged by a torrent of rockets shot from Gaza, leading to the deaths of citizens and a growing terror in the society of our strong ally. I condemn these terrorist actions and call on Hamas to cease its senseless aggression on the Israeli people. I support Israelís need to defend herself from these attacks and to pursue the militant elements that lead and organize these threats. Every nation has the right to defend itself and its citizens from acts of terror. I urge the United States to provide all necessary support to Israel in this troubling time. I regret the loss of innocent life, and pray for a return to stability and peace."

Congressman Mike Quigley:

Click here to watch Congressman Quigley's speech at the JUF Community Solidarity Rally for Israel on November 20.

Congressman Peter Roskam:

Click Here to see Congressman Roskam's letter to Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowksky:

"I strongly condemn Hamas's decision to escalate violence by launching a barrage of rockets against civilian centers in southern Israel. I stand with the President of the United States in unequivocally supporting Israel's right to defend itself and its citizens from violence. Hamas and other terrorist groups must immediately halt the attacks against Israel.

The loss of innocent civilian lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, is tragic and regrettable, and I urge all parties to take every precaution to protect civilian lives. I support Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement that Israel is doing 'everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties.'

Hamas's ongoing use of indiscriminate violence against Israeli is harmful to the cause of Palestinian statehood and dangerous to the Palestinian people in Gaza. Its oppressive regime has caused immense suffering."

Click here to watch Congresswoman Schakowsky's speech at the JUF Community Solidarity Rally for Israel on November 20.

Congresswoman Joe Walsh:

"I applaud Secretary Clinton for reiterating the United State's support for Israel's right to self defense. But this is hardly enough. More than 220 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians from militants in Gaza. The United States must hold the Palestinians accountable for these unprovoked, heinous acts. It must also hold Egypt, Qatar, and Iran accountable for their support of Palestinian militants and the terrorist group Hamas.

I am disappointed that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has used this unprovoked attack on Israel to reveal both his sympathy for the terrorist group, Hamas, and his opposition to Middle East peace. Why are we providing Egypt with $2 billion in foreign aid every year to vilify our allies and oppose American interests? It's time to hold Egypt accountable as well. I urge the President to withhold foreign aid to Egypt until it publicly reaffirms its treaties with Israel."

Congresswoman-elect Tammy Duckworth:

"I strongly support Israel's right to defend itself. Israel is a crucial ally of the United States and it is important that we stand with the Israeli people as they defend themselves from the increasing number of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza. The United States, Egypt and other nations in the region must work towards a two state solution that strengthens Israel's security, creates a lasting peace and prevents the tragic loss of innocent lives on both sides."

Congressman-elect Brad Schneider:

"I strongly condemn Hamas' attacks on Israel, and I stand in full support of Israelís sovereign right to defend herself and bring peace and quiet to her citizens. I have personally visited many of the Israeli communities now under fire and stand in solidarity with them and call on those responsible for the violence to halt the attacks against Israel's innocent civilians."

President Obama's Phone Calls with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi:

"Today, the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi about the rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel, and the escalating violence in Gaza.

The President reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States' support for Israel's right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians. The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. Earlier today, Vice President Biden received a briefing from Prime Minister Netanyahu on the events in Gaza.

The President also spoke with President Morsi given Egypt's central role in preserving regional security. In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel's right to self-defense. The two leaders agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

"Though our brothers and sisters in Israel are far away from us, our hearts and prayers are with them at this perilous time.

In the face of these wholly unacceptable attacks on civilian populations by Hamas, we see once again the full measure of America’s commitment to Israel’s security and its right to defend itself. And having served two great presidents, I can tell you firsthand, that Israel has no greater friend than President Barack Obama. As he said recently, “There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.” A substantial amount of the financing for the Iron Dome system, which is doing vital work at this moment, was committed under President Obama, showing that friendship and partnership are powerful forces amongst allies.

Having stood by the president’s side in times of crisis, I know that he is working with leaders in the region in order to stop the missile attacks into Israeli territory without further escalation.

In moments such as this, we must renew our own faith and do what we can to ensure peace for this generation of children as well as for the next generation. In that effort, on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are still in danger, we have cause to pray, “Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya'ase shalom aleinu, ve-al kol Israel, ve-imru, amen.” (May God who makes peace in the heavens grant peace for all of us and for all of Israel, and we say amen.)"

Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza:

"I extend my deepest sympathies to the Israeli people during this difficult time, and support Israel's right to defend its citizens from the barrage of rocket attacks and acts of terrorism being launched by Hamas and its terrorist affiliates. I hope and pray for Hamas to recognize Israelís right to exist, to cease its campaign of terror, and bring an end to the senseless killings of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians."

Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely:

"It is heartbreaking to see so many Israeli and Palestinian civilians killed over the irrational behavior of terrorist-like acts spurned by Hamas. Last year I visited S'derot where I had the opportunity to meet many families, living day in and day out, with the threat of rocket attacks. I support President Obama and our ally Israel in their endeavors, with the hopes of executing a speedy cease-fire so that innocent lives may be spared, and for the execution of a lasting peace agreement between the State of Israel and Hamas."

Alderman Michele Smith:

"Like President Obama, I am committed to our ally Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism. The loss of both Palestinian and Israeli civilian life is tragic, and underlines the need to end Hamas' terrorism, the real victims of which are ordinary citizens on both sides of the Gaza Strip trying to live their lives in peace."

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer:

"I stand with Israel. Israel has been, for the past fifty years, our strongest ally in the Middle East, an island of stability in the region and a source of innovation that has had a tremendous impact on our global economy and quality of life. Now, more than ever, it is important that there be a living and breathing example of what it means to create a refuge for refugees and a safe harbor for persecuted people wherever they are in the world."

Henry Bayer, Executive Director, AFSCME Council 31 (on behalf of its 75,000 members in Illinois):

"No nation would tolerate wanton rocket attacks on its civilian population. The world must act to stop these attacks and prevent the rearming of Hamas terrorists as a precondition to the peace in the Middle East that we all want."

Press Secretary Jay Carney:

"We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately in order to allow the situation to deescalate.

As you know, President Obama spoke yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi. In both conversations, the President reiterated the United States' support for Israel's right to self-defense. President Obama also urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any close to achieving self-determination."

Read more statements from Congressional leaders throughout the country.

Posted: 11/16/2012 10:25:09 AM
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