Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, this week and even today Israel's terrorist enemies massively escalated their rocket attacks on our country's closest ally, Israel--Hamas has fired its rockets at large cities whose population has not been under attack for decades, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the latter of which had never been subject to rocket attack. Sadly, three people have been killed.
Words cannot express the inhumanity and barbarity of these rocket attacks. The number of Israelis who live under daily threat of air attack has increased exponentially: more than a third of Israel's population lives in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area alone, which was last under rocket fire during the first Gulf War.
This is the moment for America to send a clear message: Hamas's rocket attacks are completely and totally unacceptable and unjustified and intolerable, their escalation even more so. The Israeli government has not only the right but the duty to defend its people. I want to recognize and applaud Israel for vigorously doing so, and for taking every reasonable precaution to avoid civilian casualties. I want to remind my colleagues that Hamas's goal is not to avoid civilian casualties, but to initiate conflict that will cause it, so that all the people killed, whether Israeli or Palestinian, are in fact Hamas's victims. Our hearts and prayers go out to their families.