Hare Recaps Trip to Israel, Palestinian Territories
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) traveled to Israel and the West Bank earlier this month to learn more about the Middle East peace talks, Israel's security situation, and important political and economic trends in the region. He was part of a delegation that included House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Maryland). The trip, which was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), an independent non-profit charitable foundation affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), was Hare's first abroad.
"This trip was a wonderful learning experience for me," Hare said. "I was able to hear from political and religious leaders on all sides about the ongoing effort to achieve peace in the Middle East."
While there, Hare met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Likud Party leader and former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also met with the families of three Israeli soldiers who were captured in July.
"I believe the Israelis and the Palestinians are committed to a peaceful two-state solution," Hare said. "However, peace negotiations cannot include Hamasa terrorist group dedicated to Israel's destruction. Peace is only achievable if President Abbas can clean up the corruption in his own government and keep terrorists and other radicals at bay. The international community must demand this accountability."
Hare said he witnessed first hand the extraordinary courage of the Israeli people, who are under the constant threat of attack. He visited a family in the northern Israel town of Sderot, who described the fear of living in an area where bombs are launched everyday, often at the time children leave for school. "These people's lives are constantly in dangerbut they refuse to leave," Hare said. "Their pride for country and community in the face of terror is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen."
Hare said he hopes this is his first of many trips abroad. "Stability in the Middle East is important to both national and international security," Hare said. "I look forward to learning more about the region and contributing my voice as Congress continues to debate critical foreign affairs issues."