Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in defense of our ally, Israel, and her sovereign right to self-defense.
As we all know, Israel lives in a difficult neighborhood of instability, violence, and uncertainty. In the towns of Israel's southern border, families have become unacceptably accustomed to running for shelter to avoid rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. But nothing could provide preparation or justification for the onslaught of missile fire raining down on Israeli towns and cities over the past few months, nor the escalated barrage of the last few days.
Since the beginning of 2012, Hamas has launched more than 900 rockets at the State of Israel; 340 of these were in the past few days alone. In the face of this brutality, Israel, like any nation, has the right and the duty to protect her citizens from unwarranted violence and destruction.
Two days ago, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense, a legal, proportionate, and surgical strike aimed exclusively at Hamas' missile stockpile and terrorist leadership.
We watch with deep concern for the people of Israel as these events continue to unfold, and we remain united in our support of Israel's sovereign right to self-defense.
I am proud that the Iron Dome missile defense system has provided a bulwark of support in this tragic and frightening time.
We mourn the loss of life and send our deepest condolences to the families of victims. We reject Hamas' call to violence, pray for the most minimal of casualties, and remain ever hopeful for a return to common peace.