“In the face of this barbarism, Israel deserves our strongest support as it seeks to root out the infrastructure of terror that Hamas has built in and under Gaza,” Hatch said. “The Israeli people have a right to live free from fear of constant rocket attack. And while we should applaud the success of the Iron Dome system in protecting Israeli civilians from the Hamas rocket threat, Israel is acting responsibly by seeking to eliminate the means by which Hamas perpetuates that threat.
Hatch’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Mr. President, I rise today to speak out in strong support of Israel’s right to self-defense. This isn’t a partisan issue. Whether Republican or Democrat, we should all stand behind America’s loyal ally as it faces Hamas’s cowardly terrorism. And in this time of frequent domestic political division, it is encouraging to witness the remarkable degree of unanimity among my colleagues on this issue.
The wide support for Israel’s self-defense here in Congress reflects the unique bond between the United States and Israel. It’s an interest we share for many reasons, including:
Our kinship with Israel as a free society and a democracy;
Our close economic and cultural ties—especially for those of us who consider support for Israel a deeply spiritual matter;
Our respect for the many virtues of Israeli society, from its industriousness to its tolerance;
Our appreciation for Israel’s unique stability in an unstable region full of failed and stressed states;
And our recognition that Israel wants nothing more than to live in peace with its neighbors.
So when Hamas fires constant rocket barrages indiscriminately at Israeli cities, and seeks to infiltrate Israel with teams of murderers and kidnappers, Israel has every right to defend itself against this terrorist threat.
In the realities of urban warfare against a guerilla opponent, some civilian casualties are unavoidable. But in its military actions, Israel has acted with admirable and unprecedented concern for Palestinian civilians—making phone calls, sending text messages, and dropping leaflets to warn of impending attacks against military targets; aborting critical air strikes to avoid civilian casualties; and undertaking numerous other measures to protect Palestinian civilians even at the expense of Israeli military objectives.
So while the Israeli Defense Forces act with great courage not only to protect Israeli civilians, but also to avoid harming Palestinian civilians, what does Hamas do? Like all terrorists, they hide behind civilians—building bunkers and tunnels to protect its fighters, but refusing to shelter civilians; using civilian buildings—including schools, hospitals, and places of worship—to launch rockets and hide other weapons; and even ordering civilians to ignore Israeli warnings and instead turning them into human shields.
In the face of this barbarism, Israel deserves our strongest support as it seeks to root out the infrastructure of terror that Hamas has built in and under Gaza. The Israeli people have a right to live free from fear of constant rocket attack. And while we should applaud the success of the Iron Dome system in protecting Israeli civilians from the Hamas rocket threat, Israel is acting responsibly by seeking to eliminate the means by which Hamas perpetuates that threat.
Above all else, we must recognize that supporting Israel is really about supporting peace in the Middle East. Israel wants peace. Not peace at any price, but a just, secure, and enduring peace. And as long as Hamas terrorists hate Israel more than they love their own children—to paraphrase Golda Meir—Israel must occasionally resort to force of arms in self-defense. In this endeavor, our ally deserves our strongest support.
Thank you, Mr. President.