Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney joined the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC) and many of her colleagues in government to express support for "Operation Pillar of Defense," Israel's effort to halt the indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian targets originating from the Gaza Strip and to disrupt the military capabilities of the perpetrators of the rocket attacks. Her statement, first delivered at a press conference near the Israel Consulate in Turtle Bay (photograph, attached) follows:
"Thank you to everyone at JCRC who brings us together in solidarity with Israel whenever there is a time of crisis. And this is a crisis that is more serious than any in recent memory -- Since the start of the year, Israelis withstood nearly 900 rocket attacks -- without responding. More than one million Israelis are living in the line of fire.
"America knows that this action did not begin with Israel's bombing of Gaza. We know that Israel is responding to months of rocket attacks. And we know that Israel showed extraordinary, unprecedented and possibly imprudent restraint in allowing hundreds of rockets to land unanswered. But ultimately, there isn't a country in the world that could withstand that kind of barrage forever without taking action to defend its population.
"Hamas's rockets are designed to strike terror into the hearts of Israeli civilians. There's no easy way to measure terror. It doesn't lend itself to pie charts or graphs. So the rational fear experienced by Israelis living in the line of fire is routinely discounted in the international press.
"Israelis have become so expert at building shelters that much of the world has forgotten that the rockets are deadly. But the bombs raining down on Israel are not toys. They are deadly missiles with the power to kill.
"Israelis live with the knowledge that they must know where a shelter is at all moments. They live with the understanding that they have just 15 seconds to find shelter when the sirens sound. They live with the fear that maybe this time, their family members didn't make it to safety. How long can anyone live that way without demanding that their government take action to defend them?
"The world preaches restraint -- and Israel showed restraint. But when Gazans fired more than 120 rockets into southern Israel in a single weekend, Israel had to take action to protect its people. No country can tolerate having such a substantial portion of its population under constant attack. Israel has every right to take responsible steps to end the assaults on its territory.
"I am proud to have joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting in support of H.Res. 813 which expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, recognizes Israel's inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism; reiterates our view that Hamas must end rocket and missile attacks against Israel; urges the United Nations Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, and encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel."
"America stands in solidarity with Israel -- and I am proud of having supported the Iron Dome system that is helping to protect Israel's urban centers. Reports indicate that the Iron Dome system has intercepted roughly half of the missiles fired at Israel since this conflict began. This is a system that is truly helping to save lives.
"I hope the negotiations for a long-term truce will be successful, that the missile fire will end and that the Palestinians and Israelis will be able to find a way to live together in peace."