Senate passes resolution in support of Israel

The Senate passed a resolution expressing support for Israel on the same night the country launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) authored S.Res. 498, which reaffirms Senate support for Israel, condemns unprovoked rocket fire and calls on Hamas to stop all rocket attacks on Israel.

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“The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp,” Graham said on the Senate floor Thursday.

Passage of the resolution came moments after Israel announced that it launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, following a week of heavy rocket attacks from Hamas forces.

“Hamas must end its rocket and mortar attacks and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said. “It cannot be allowed to continue its terrorist acts.”

Tensions have flared between Israel and Hamas since three Israeli teens were killed. A Palestinian teenager was found dead shortly after in what is believed to be retaliation.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) supported the resolution, which passed through a unanimous consent agreement, but said, “I want more teeth in this.”

He called on the Senate to pass his bill, S. 2265, which would end all U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until it kicks Hamas out of its unity government, among other things.

— Rebecca Shabad contributed to this article.