149 Lawmakers Call on U.N. to Make Hamas Rocket Removal Top Priority

149 Lawmakers Call on U.N. to Make Hamas Rocket Removal Top Priority

7/31/14

Congressman Doug Lamborn and Democrat Congressmen Brad Schneider (IL-10) led a bipartisan group of 149 lawmakers on a letter calling on the United Nations to make the removal of Hamas’s rocket arsenal a top priority.

"The U.N’s purpose is to save mankind from the scourge of war and to defend fundamental human rights, but it is failing to do just that. For some time now, the U.N has wrongfully and instinctively condemned Israel. While Israel practices the greatest caution trying to prevent civilian casualties, Hamas uses civilians to protect the rockets it launches at Israel. It is time for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take the necessary steps to remove these rockets, and to support Israel in the effort to destroy the deadly tunnels."

- Congressman Doug Lamborn

A member of the House Veterans, Armed Services, and Natural Resources Committees. He also co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Israel Caucus and the Republican Israel Caucus.

“The prospect for true quiet and lasting peace is untenable until Hamas is disarmed and its rocket stockpiles are eliminated from Gaza. Hamas’s rockets represent a serious barrier to long-term peace, which is why I lead my colleagues on this effort to call on the United Nations to make the immediate elimination of the rockets a top priority.”

- Congressman Brad Schneider

A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Schneider is a leader in working to strengthen the U.S.-Israel partnership and enacting sanctions against terrorist organizations. He has been vocal about Israel’s right to defend herself from indiscriminate firing of rockets.

Text of Letter

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has embarked on its third campaign in six years of terrorizing a civilian population by indiscriminately firing nearly two thousand rockets into Israeli airspace.  As well, Hamas has built a network of underground tunnels from Gaza into Israel with the express intent of killing and capturing Israelis.    There has been enough suffering in both Israel and Gaza as a direct result of Hamas’s rocket arsenal. We, the elected representatives of the American people, call on the United Nations to formally recognize Gaza's rockets as an impenetrable barrier to regional peace, and to make their immediate removal a top priority.

After ten days of unrelenting, indiscriminate attacks—from rockets, through the tunnels, and from the sea—Israel entered Gaza on July 17 with the mission of eliminating the tunnels and ending the rocket fire.  Meanwhile, rocket sirens continue to sound all across Israel, with over 75% of Israel’s civilian population living within range of Hamas’ fire.

More than 9,000 rockets have been fired out of Gaza since 2001. Once considered to be short-range threats with minimal payloads, Hamas has continuously improved the range and lethality of these rockets to ensure a maximum threat to Israel.  Hamas can now reach virtually every major population center in Israel, with deadly effect.  Today, every rocket fired puts the long-sought peace between Israel and the Palestinians further out of reach.

But rather than respond in kind to each and every rocket attack, Israel has countered the rocket threat by developing a rocket defense system known as Iron Dome. The Iron Dome system has saved countless Israeli lives, including in this most recent conflict.

After more than a decade of deadly attacks, it is now absolutely clear that the international community cannot tolerate the rocket stockpiles in Gaza.  While the rockets terrorize Israelis, they also endanger Gaza's children, women, and men. Hamas embeds its rockets and rocket launchers among civilian populations and publicly declares it the duty of every Palestinian to put his or her life on the line to protect them. The firing of rockets intentionally targeting Israeli civilians and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields are both war crimes.

Israel continues to warn the population in Gaza before striking weapons caches and rocket launchers.  These advanced warnings seek to save the lives of innocent Palestinians, and do so at grave risk to Israel Defense Forces troops. Yet, in spite of these efforts, many innocent civilians have lost their lives in the crossfire and collateral damage to property still occurs.  Tragically, this is exactly what Hamas' leadership is counting on.

We urge the United Nations to take the steps necessary to make the removal of Hamas’s rockets a top priority.  Doing so will bring much needed stability to a region that has been plagued by terror and suffering for too long and is imperative to any effort to bring a lasting peace to the people of Israel and Gaza.

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