A Progressive Victory on Israel, as Hardliners Fail to Mount Campaign Against Donna Edwards
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At the same time, I saw a nation that had decided to risk its very own security by turning over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority-even though that meant the forcible removal of more than 9,000 Israeli citizens who had lived there peacefully. I saw the meticulous restoration of sacred religious sites that had been neglected for centuries. Most importantly, I saw a people wrestling with the challenge of balancing the command of self-preservation with the ideal of an open, democratic society governed by the rule of law.
Military Support for Israel
A strong Israel bolsters American strength and security internationally, while creating new economic opportunities for American businesses and workers. Most of the U.S. funds supporting Israel are spent here in America buying military equipment that helps protect the Middle East – a joint goal of Israel and the United States. The United States should continue to work with Israel in its development of defensive weapons systems designed to protect against ballistic missile and rocket attacks from Iran, their terrorist proxies Hezbollah and Hamas as well as other potential attackers. Such weapons help both Israel and America alike. It is critical for Israel to maintain a significant military edge over enemies of Israel and the West.
As a Member of Congress, I would support the ten-year security agreement committing the United States to help Israel address growing and evolving threats to its existence. Israel is America’s strongest and steadiest strategic ally in the Middle East. Yet, Israel is also surrounded by threats including a potential for an Iran with nuclear capability, and increasing military capability by terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah. American military cooperation and aid bolsters Israel’s ability to defend itself in a dangerous region and sends a clear signal to these foes that our support for Israel is unwavering. Moreover, helping Israel maintain a military advantage over potential adversaries serves as a deterrent to military conflicts and has enabled Israel to take risks for peace. Therefore, it is critical that America continue its support for Israel. Congress provided the full $3 billion in security aid to Israel for 2011. While it may be necessary to trim federal spending in many areas, including on foreign and security programs, I will fight for critical funding of our assistance to Israel, at the level of $3.075 billion for 2012, in accordance with the 10 year plan. Israel typically spends most of its aid money buying U.S.-made items.
Iran’s Nuclear Threat
Iran’s nuclear program and support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are a threat not only to Israel, but to all who care about security and peace. According to U.S. Courts and other key sources, Iran has been behind bombings that killed many Americans. Iran poses an existential threat to the security of Israel and its citizens. Led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has openly called for Israel to be “wiped of the map”, and an unelected cleric, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran is recklessly pursuing the acquisition of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. Clearly, Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. The United States must be willing to enforce and expand a rigorous sanctions regime that deters Iran from its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and should not eliminate the possibility-however remote-of military action to eliminate the threat. My specific plan for stopping the threat of Iran is to be clear that they cannot get access to nuclear weapons and must stop their state sponsorship of terror. We must:
1. Put Serious Sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran