GAZA -- (Extensions of Remarks - January 09, 2009)
Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, nearly 9,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars have been fired into Israel since 2001, terrorizing the Israeli people. More than 6,000 of them have fallen since Israel withdrew entirely from the Gaza Strip and Hamas took over its leadership in 2005. The range of these rockets continues to grow, putting more of Israel's population in danger.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza also worsens by the day, and scores of civilians have been hurt or killed in the fighting. Hamas terrorists embed themselves in private homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, and use innocent Palestinians as human shields.
I fully support Israel's right to defend itself against the constant barrage of attacks from Hamas. However, it is imperative that both the Hamas government in Gaza and the State of Israel stop this cycle of violence that has caused hundreds of casualties, before it gets worse. Israelis in Southern Israel and Palestinians in Gaza live in constant fear for their lives, and this is unacceptable.
The Bush Administration must immediately take all necessary measures, in conjunction with the world community, to broker a peaceful and sustainable resolution to this volatile situation. Should the President heed this call, it will bolster the incoming Obama Administration's efforts as it advocates for a lasting peace.
Military action will not result in an enduring resolution of these long simmering tensions. It is only through diplomacy and a strengthening of the Israeli Palestinian reconciliation process that a sustainable two state solution will be achieved. The violence must stop and the healing process begin, before more civilians are hurt and more lives are destroyed.