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Kaine Hosts Briefing With Israeli Amb. Dermer & Defense Attache Major General Ayish, Cosponsors Resolution Expressing Support For Israel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, hosted a briefing for members of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Defense Attaché Major General Ayish to discuss the ongoing operation in Gaza – Operation Protective Edge. Kaine released the following statement after the briefing:

“The deteriorating situation in Gaza is one of grave concern. I support Israel's right to defend itself against unprovoked rocket attacks launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. And I grieve for the Israeli and Palestinian citizens – especially the young – who live and die under constant security threats. I appreciate the willingness of Ambassador Dermer and Major General Ayish to brief Senators on the current status today.

“The decision by President Abbas to pursue a unity government with Hamas was almost certainly destined to reach this moment. For those of us who care about finding a two state solution – a secure state of Israel living peacefully side by side with an independent Palestine – the recent actions by Hamas demonstrate that it has not changed its fundamental denial of Israel's right to exist. No peace is possible with such a partner.

“I call for Hamas to stop its unprovoked rocket attacks. And I also call on President Abbas to recognize that Hamas will not seek peace. He should separate the Palestinian Authority from this terrorist organization and both Israel and the Palestinian Authority should renew the hard quest for co-existence. The blood shed by Israeli and Palestinian children is reason enough for leaders to reach beyond old grievances and tired ideologies.”

Kaine also cosponsored a resolution today expressing support for the State of Israel. The resolution was introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The resolution:

  • Reaffirms the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel;
  • Condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel;
  • Calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and
  • Calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.