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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I thank the distinguished gentlelady, the chairwoman of our committee, for her great leadership on all things related to the Middle East, especially in the defense of Israel. I thank my good friend and colleague Mr. Berman. These two individuals work so hard every day for the peace and security of Israel, and I congratulate them.
I also thank Eric Cantor, the author, along with the distinguished gentlelady and Mr. Berman and Mr. Hoyer, for bringing before the House the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. This bill reaffirms and modernizes the U.S. commitment to and cooperation with our great friend and ally Israel. This is a must-pass bill because our commitment is--and it must be perceived to be--unequivocal.
I would say to my friends and colleagues that, because of the dangerous and escalating threats, including genocide, that are facing Israel today, we must reiterate unanimously in this body today our support for the nation of Israel.
Freedom House's annual report on the world, which assesses the political and civil liberties of nearly every nation in the world, shows that Israel is surrounded by nations that profoundly disrespect the political and civil liberties of their own citizens, often using torture and all kinds of means of hate against their own people, and of course they foment that hate towards Israel. This includes Iran, Syria, and many in the Gaza that have human rights records that are among the worst in the world.
As we all know, some of Israel's neighbors openly question Israel's right to exist. Iran's anti-Semitic leader, Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. I would note parenthetically that Iran is a signer of the Genocide Convention and that it has been since it ratified it back in 1956.
Where is the United Nations, especially with regard to those who enforce the Genocide Convention, when those kinds of barbaric statements are made by the likes of Ahmadinejad? With this bill, Mr. Speaker, the United States underscores and reiterates our unshakable commitment to Israel. With this bill, the U.S. reaffirms--in word and in deed--our commitment to the defense of the Jewish state. Specifically, the bill enhances Israel's ability to defend itself.
Superior deterrence remains among the best guarantors of peace, and that has certainly been the case in the Middle East. When Israel's military superiority was unclear in the eyes of its enemies soon after it was created, soon after Israel became a state, Israel was tested repeatedly with war. Of course, Israel won those wars decisively. Since then, Israel's military superiority has been clear and compelling. So in response, Israel's enemies have relied on the tactics of the bully and of the coward, especially with their use of terrorism. They have attacked with Gaza rockets, with the intifada, with the flotilla; and Israel's task has been to overcome those deadly aggressions.
Again, this bill provides a clear commitment by the United States to our great friend and ally, the State of Israel.
Overcoming aggression is a daunting task--particularly for a country so small and vastly outnumbered--but Israel has been up to the task. And it's our country's moral obligation to give them every assistance. With this bill, Israel will be better equipped for any scenario as it fulfills its solemn duty to protect its own people from harm.
Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4133 also specifies further assistance for several programs where it will be most effective in deterring attack and defending Israel, including for the Iron Dome, Israel's successful means of defending against missiles, rockets, and other projectiles targeting Israeli homes and businesses.
H.R. 4133 also expands U.S. military and civilian cooperation with Israel, including an offer to the Israeli Air Force for additional training opportunities in the United States to compensate for Israel's limited air space, and other enhanced cooperation on intelligence sharing.
Israel has shown itself to be a good friend to the United Sates, not only setting the standard for democracy and human rights in the region, but by being trustworthy with loans--always repaying loans on time and in full. This bill recognizes Israel's dependability with an extension of the long-standing loan guarantee program for Israel.
Finally, this bill reaffirms that the only viable option for peace and security in the region is an Israeli state and Palestinian state existing side-by-side. The Palestinian Authority and surrounding nations should take note. H.R. 4133 makes crystal clear the United States will not stand for terrorist threats or political shenanigans at the UN attacking Israel and attempting to bypass the hard work of forging a nation.
Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4133 makes our country's alliance relationship an even more effective agent for deterring war and defending Israel in the tragic event of war. I am proud to support this bill, and thank my good friend Mr. CANTOR for introducing it.
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