Standing with Israel and the right to self-defense (Rep. Pete Sessions)

Hamas. Hezbollah. Iran. No nation, including Israel, should be expected to tolerate the threats and terrorism produced by these hate-filled regimes.

Since 2001, Hamas – which pledges to destroy Israel – has fired over 7000 rockets and mortars at civilians from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns. In 2006, Hezbollah fired over 3970 rockets into civilian centers in Northern Israel from Lebanon. And in addition to calling for Israel’s annihilation, last month Iran successfully tested a surface-to-surface missile with a range capable of reaching Israel. Clearly, Iran and its proxies – Hamas and Hezbollah – pose an existential threat to Israel and the entire region.

The United States must recognize the ongoing threat Israel faces – particularly in light of Iran’s successful long-range missile testing last month – and stand for Israel based on principled leadership to ensure that freedom, democracy and security ultimately prevail.

That is why I sponsored an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 2410) to express Congress’ continued recognition of Israel’s right to defend itself from an imminent nuclear or military threat from Iran, terrorist organizations or nations that harbor terrorist organizations.

In contrast to President Obama’s current policy of openly rebuking Israel for settlement growth – which only serves to embolden its enemies, I believe that the United States should stand steadfastly and respectfully with Israel as our strongest ally and democracy in the Middle East.

My pro-Israel amendment, which passed the House despite stated Democrat opposition, allowed Members of Congress an opportunity to demonstrate the courage of their convictions in support for Israel’s right to exist and protect itself from aggressors in the region.

As Israel continues to face terrorism, threats of annihilation, and hostility in some courts of world opinion, may the United States government – including this Congress – continue to stand up and speak up for Israel.