The past week saw overdue justice delivered to the planet's most wanted terrorist by a small, elite group of American fighters. The death of bin Laden is a major victory in our nation's ongoing war on terror, and sends a signal to all who wish to or have done America harm, that we will not rest until justice is done. Those of us who live in North Carolina know well the sacrifices of our military, and how their professionalism and courage has protected us these last ten years from bin Laden's plots. We can never thank our military and their families enough for their sacrifice.
In the aftermath of the death of bin Laden, we must remember that this is not the death of al-Qaeda. There are still efforts across the globe, deeply rooted in the hatred of freedom and our way of life, which seek to harm our nation. While bin Laden's death is welcome and good news, we must remain vigilant in defense of our freedom at home and in the cause of freedom around the world. I traveled to Israel with a small group of my colleagues last week. The United States and Israel have a special relationship; one founded in a shared commitment to freedom and democracy. Israel serves as a prime example of a government dedicated to overcoming threats and terrorist events that seek to undermine its security and threaten its very existence.
Both of our nations have been challenged by fundamentalist groups who use violence to seek their ends, and this bond has strengthened our resolve and friendship. The United States must always take direct action against the enemies of freedom and democracy. We must make the safety of the citizens of Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East, our special duty and central goal of policy towards that volatile and strategic part of the world.
I met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the ongoing state of the Middle East region. Shortly upon my arrival, news began to spread of a deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas (a recognized terrorist organization with the stated goal of the destruction of Israel). This announcement shaped the tone of our meetings throughout the week, with Israeli officials expressing justified concern over the agreement between the Palestinians and Hamas. Allowing any group to use terrorism, or its alliances with terrorist groups, to manipulate the politics and policies of Israel is unacceptable.
The Palestinian Authority must end this dangerous alliance before we can take seriously their intention to participate in a democracy. Hamas must renounce the use of violence and terror as negotiating tools, recognize Israel's right to exist, halt its attacks on Israel and its citizens, and agree to abide by all previous agreements and treaties. Until Hamas agrees to abide by these guidelines and the Palestinian Authority returns to the negotiating table without their hands tainted by terrorist ties, no deal can be reached and the Palestinians should receive no aid or assistance from the United States.
Uncertainty throughout the Middle East directly impacts us here at home. As terrorist groups find support and state sponsorship, they grow in size and capability. As the leading area in oil production, these conflicts also impact our bank accounts. As gas prices rise due to market uncertainty and speculation, the fact that the main distribution points are located in nations that are seemingly forever in conflict does not bode well for our family budgets. The closer we move towards the certainty of peace, the less our nation must feel the self-inflated power of world leaders using gas and oil as a bargaining chip in their fight for more power. Our working families and small businesses must overcome enough in this tough economy, and we should not fall victim to the uncertainty of a region so far away, whether economically or in our very safety.
I support the Roadmap for Peace that has been established, and will support all efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East--but I do not support forcing Israel, or any nation, to negotiate with terrorists and risk its safety in the process. Neither the government of the United States, nor the government of any other nation, should be forced into negotiating with terrorists. Any sense of security derived from negotiating with terrorists is, at best, illusive. A failed, armed and hostile Palestinian state is an impediment to peace in the region and across the globe.
The terrorist threats to Israel are no different than those posed to us here at home. While we have finally brought an end to Osama bin Laden's reign as figurehead and leader of al-Qaeda, we must remain aggressive in our defense. Our nation has been tested, and our resolve is strong. We will bring those who harm us to justice, and fight to forever continue the way of life our nation was founded on. God bless America.