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Public Statements

Recognizing Israel's Right to Defend Itself Against Attacks from Gaza

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentlelady.

Madam Speaker, colleagues, I don't think there is any of us who would doubt a nation's right to defend its citizens and to defend its population. That's why I rise in support of this resolution. I thank the sponsors, the gentleman from California, the gentlelady from Florida, for bringing this forward.

At this time it is very, very important for us in the United States to stand tall in defense of our democratic allies, Israel's right to defend its borders, to defend its people.

I stand here in support of Israel because I have been there. I've seen Sderot. One of the most memorable visits to Israel that I've been on, I visited with a family, a family that lived in a town called Gush Katif. It was a town in the southern portion of the Gaza Strip. I visited with them almost 3 1/2 years ago when it was just after Israel's unilateral pullout of the Gaza Strip.

This family had two children, parents--professional parents--who had just gone through the wrenching process of uprooting their family, leaving their home, in hopes of a better life. The parents said to me one of the most difficult jobs was to explain to their children why they needed to leave their life and their home. These parents said they told their children they were going to leave because they needed to be sure that Israel had every chance imaginable for peace so they could leave in peace.

I actually cannot imagine what those parents are going through now. Three-and-a-half years later they've settled in the area of Sderot, and life could not be any more frightening for them or their children.

When they moved out of the Gaza Strip, they joined the group of citizens of Israel who have to live by the 15-second rule. They have to know, their children have to know, where a safe spot is within 15 seconds of a siren going off. That's the unimaginable fear that they live in day in and day out. Even when these people take vacation and leave Israel, their children, immediately upon arriving at their destination, ask the question, Where is the safe place? Where do I need to run and hide from the rockets?

That's the mentality. That's the culture that has bred because of the incessant, tireless firing of rockets by Hamas aimed at civilians.

Madam Speaker, that is the issue. Israel has a foe on many of its borders, certainly to the south, that is determined to kill its civilians. I don't think any of us would want any of our population in this country to be subjected to that type of terror, nor would we sit here and allow it. That's why Israel has taken the action that it has.

After trying to stop the rockets through third-party negotiations, cease-fires, and even lodging complaints at the United Nations, Israel has taken defensive action. And today, we speak as one body in support of our democratic ally, Israel. We stand up to reaffirm the vibrant relationship that our two countries share, a relationship underpinned by shared values like respect for human life, democracy, and a relationship strengthened by our indispensable strategic interests.


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