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Ros-Lehtinen To Meet With Top Israeli Official; Will Discuss Gaza Situation With Ambassador, Express Support For Israel

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will meet Wednesday with Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor to discuss Israel's response to ongoing rocket attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas. Ros-Lehtinen will express her support for Israel's campaign to remove the threat to its security and existence posed by these Islamist extremists.

"Israel, as a sovereign democratic nation, has the right to protect its citizens from such attacks—whether by Hamas or Hezbollah or other radical Islamists who seek the destruction of the Jewish state," Ros-Lehtinen said.

"I have been to Sderot, and I have seen the spent missiles and witnessed the air raid warnings which force the entire population, including children, to shield themselves against an incoming round," Ros-Lehtinen said. "No responsible government would stand by and allow such attacks to continue. Israel's response is necessary, proportional, and justified."

Ros-Lehtinen also criticized comments by several UN officials singling out Israel for condemnation. "Hamas continues to bear responsibility for the suffering experienced by the people of the Gaza strip. Some at the UN fail to acknowledge that Hamas is exacerbating the suffering by using innocent civilians as human shields," Ros-Lehtinen said. "The fact that Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians and simultaneously sacrificing civilians in Gaza proves that their goals are incompatible with lasting peace and security."

The meeting is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Wednesday. Ros-Lehtinen's comments come at a time when many are demanding a ceasefire, ignoring Hamas's track record of violations and of using ceasefires to, with Iran's assistance, rebuild its arsenals and augment its capacity to target Israel.

"Responsible nations must recognize that the threat to regional and global peace and security posed by Hamas will continue unless Hamas is held accountable and its offensive capabilities are eliminated. We have just seen rocket attacks resume yet again and the consequences of that, and a ceasefire at this point would only ensure that we see it again," said Ros-Lehtinen.

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