Senate Republicans announced Monday a resolution condemning the Hamas attacks on Jerusalem and reaffirming the nation’s “unwavering commitment to Israel,” putting pressure on Democrats amid the party’s bitter divide on the Middle East.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who led the group of 19 Republican supporters, said the party would seek to introduce and the resolution later this week and pass it by unanimous consent.
“For decades, the people of Israel have endured unyielding attacks from terrorist groups, like Hamas, who wish to destroy the Jewish state and its people,” Mr. Scott said. “Now, as thousands of rockets rain down, our resolve to stand with Israel must be stronger than ever. I want to be clear: no country, certainly not the United States, would tolerate attacks like these and not take whatever action is necessary to end them.”
The resolution was backed by the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America.
President Biden has expressed support for Israel and called for a ceasefire in the weeklong conflict, while leftist Democrats such as Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have lined up with the Palestinian Authority and denounced the “violence against Palestinians.”
I’m proud to lead my colleagues in reaffirming the United States’ full and unwavering support of Israel and its right to do what’s necessary to protect its people: https://t.co/n6nf6Nte7x pic.twitter.com/X1CgSiPxBg
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) May 17, 2021
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday he agreed with a bipartisan statement in support of a cease fire issued Sunday by Sens. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, and Todd Young, Indiana Republican.
“I agree with the statement put out by Sens. Murphy and Young last night in its entirety. I want to see a ceasefire reached quickly and mourn the loss of life,” Mr. Schumer told reporters, according to multiple media outlets.
That statement says in part that “Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas’ rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing” and calls for reaching a cease fire “quickly.”
Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican, who has signed onto the Scott resolution, said that for days, “Iran and Hamas have been bombing the hell out of America’s only true friend in the Middle East — Israel.”
“Palestinian terrorist groups continue to launch rockets targeting Israel,” Mr. Kennedy said in a statement. “There’s no room for confusion: Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism, and it is right for our ally to do so.”
Sen. Jon Ossoff, Georgia Democrat, headed 28 Democrats who issued a statement Sunday in support of “an immediate cease fire.”
The conflict intensified Monday as Israel pummeled Hamas targets with airstrikes while Israel’s Iron Dome was able to deflect most of the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist terror group that has declared the death of all Jews worldwide to be a Muslim religious duty.
The Israel Defense Force said Monday that Hamas has fired more than 3,150 rockets since May 10, with the Iron Dome intercepting 90% of those, and that 10 Israelis have been killed.
The Gaza Health Ministry reported that at least 212 Palestinians have been killed by airstrikes.
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