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Olson Statement on US/Middle East Negotiations


Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today issued the following statement in advance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's negotiations for a cease-fire in southern Israel and Gaza:

"As Secretary Clinton travels to the Middle East to negotiate a truce in the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists, the Obama Administration should take the opportunity to publicly defend Israel and reverse the tepid support it has given to our staunch ally in the Middle East.

"Israel has repeatedly shown its willingness to work toward a realistic and lasting peace. But as the president has said, the Israeli people have the right to defend themselves. I hope that President Obama and Secretary Clinton do not try to leverage Israeli acceptance of a truce by threatening to withhold military parts and supplies to our ally. Either the president or Secretary Clinton should publicly state that Israeli access to US military parts and supplies were and are not being used as leverage against Israel.

"The United States must continue our strong support of Israel. Israel's attacks on missile launchers, weapons caches, and militia havens in Gaza are justified because Hamas is firing on Israeli citizens in Sderot, Beersheva and Tel-Aviv - not the other way around.

"President Obama must remember that Hamas continues to call for Israel's destruction. Hamas cannot be seen as a viable partner in a lasting peace agreement unless they renounce in words and actions their stance on Israel's right to exist. Any effort on the part of the US to assist in brokering a cease-fire agreement must include full support of Israel's right to defend itself and the continuation of security assistance."

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