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U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

05/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/15/2021 14:33

Chairman Menendez Statement on Violence Across Israel and Gaza

May 15, 2021

Chairman Menendez Statement on Violence Across Israel and Gaza

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued the following statement on the latest developments in the escalating violence across Israel and Gaza:

'I am deeply troubled by reports of Israeli military actions that resulted in the death of innocent civilians in Gaza as well as Israeli targeting of buildings housing international media outlets. In response to thousands of rocket attacks fired by Hamas aimed at civilians, Israel has every right to self-defense from terrorists committed to wipe her off the face of the map. But no matter how dangerous and real that threat may be, I have always believed the strength of the U.S.-Israeli relationship flourishes when it is based on the shared values of democracy, freedom, pluralism, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

'Given the complexity of Gaza's densely populated civilian areas, and Hamas's shameful record of exploiting that reality by hiding military assets behind the innocent, Israeli authorities must continue taking the conscientious practice of giving advance warning of its attacks to reduce the risk of harm to the innocent. I also believe there must be a full accounting of actions that have led to civilian deaths and destruction of media outlets. All political and military leaders have a responsibility to uphold the rules and laws of war and it is of the utmost importance for all actors to find ways to deescalate and reduce tensions. This violence must end. Any death of civilians and innocent Jews and Arabs alike is a setback to stability and peace in the Middle East.'

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