Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the nation of Israel, and ask my colleagues to join me in condemning the terrorist attacks against the Israeli people from the Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
As Hamas militants continue to target its assault against innocent Israeli civilians, Israel will continue its efforts to defend her people. No nation should be forced to subject itself to such violence and destruction, nor should its people be forced to live in fear. Just as the United States would not stand idly by if such horrific attacks were waged against Americans, I support Prime Minister Netanyahu's acts of self-defense.
It is equally concerning that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has moved away from Egypt's traditional role as a mediator between Palestine and Israel, and has publically supported the actions of Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which President Morsi belongs. That is why I strongly urge President Obama and Secretary Clinton to use the strongest forms of diplomacy to support our ally Israel, and work with Israelis and Palestinians to end this violence.
In less than three days, Hamas militants have fired an estimated 550 missiles into Israel. Israel's justified response has debilitated Hamas's rocket-firing facilities and has significantly reduced their strategic capabilities.
To date, three Israeli civilians have been killed, along with twenty Palestinian militants and civilians. Israel ended its military and civilian presence in Gaza in 2005, attempting to end further conflict in the area, but Hamas militants continue to provoke armed conflict against Israel.
My thoughts and prayers are with the nation of Israel as they withstand and defend against these heinous attacks. I hope that this conflict soon ends and firm groundwork is established to solidify a long-term, mutually agreed upon peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.