House unanimously voices support for Israel in current Hamas fight

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a non-binding resolution in support of Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The resolution, which had more than 140 bipartisan sponsors, passed Friday by unanimous consent, just two days after it was introduced by Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) in response to the attacks on Israel following the murder last month of three Israeli teenagers.

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which backed the resolution, praised its passage. “Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to defend its citizens against hundreds of rockets that Islamist terrorists have launched from Gaza,” AIPAC said in a statement. “Prior to this operation, Israel made multiple efforts to defuse the situation with Hamas, but was rebuffed repeatedly.”

The resolution supports Israel’s right to defend itself against what it calls unprovoked rocket attacks from Hamas and condemns the attacks. It also calls on Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, to immediately stop firing rockets on Israel.

A similar resolution in the Senate has been introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). AIPAC in its release said it expected this resolution to come to a vote next week.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, briefed foreign affairs committees in both chambers in closed sessions in recent days.