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HV Congresswoman Denounces Violence Against Israel

Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Courtesy of the Office of Congresswoman Nita Lowey

New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the Israeli consul general in New York, and local Jewish organization leaders are denouncing the escalation of violence against Israel. This comes as media reports say Israel today shot down a Hamas drone.

Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, denounced rocket attacks against Israel as the clash between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas continues.

“A barrage of rockets, over 900 to date, have been fired into Israel from terrorists in Gaza and now threaten millions of innocent Israelis,” says Lowey. “Last Friday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H. Res. 657 reaffirming American support for Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked attacks.”

In addition, says Lowey:

“Recent actions also underscore many of our worst fears about the Palestinian unity government. A Palestinian government that includes the terrorist organization Hamas cannot possibly be a viable partner for peace with Israel and should not receive U.S. financial support,” says Lowey. “The message from the United States to [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, including the foreign aid bill passed in the House Appropriations Committee, is clear. It’s time to stand against Hamas aggression and do what is best for all Palestinians.”

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is spokeswoman for Washington, D.C.-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. She points out there have been no reported Israeli casualties, but Palestinian casualties number around 200.

“We see through the numbers how it’s really affecting the population there, it’s detrimental,” says Al-Khatahtbeh. “Just moments ago a 4-day-old infant girl, it was reported, had been killed in an Israeli airstrike. So when we heard about the three Israeli teenagers that were kidnapped and that were murdered, the entire world knew their names, but right now we have almost 200 Palestinians that have been killed over the past week, and we don’t know a single person’s name. They haven’t been mentioned in American media. And that’s really a problem.”

Consul General Ido Aharoni of the Consulate General of Israel in New York says the attacks are not over land.

“If this is not about land, then what is it about? It’s about their ongoing refusal to accept our very right to exist,” says Aharoni.

He adds:

“Seventy percent of our population is within range. Seventy percent of our population is at risk,” says Aharoni. “The damage to Israel’s tourism, to Israel’s infrastructure, to Israel’s economy, to Israel’s ability to attract foreign investment, and to Israel’s trade with other nations can be estimated in the billions.”

Al-Khatahtbeh says, according to United Nations estimate, of the roughly 200 Palestinan casualties, 70 percent are women and children.

Meanwhile, Lowey says U.S. funding for Israel’s weapons defense system remains critical.

“The Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill continues our strong, bipartisan support for the Iron Dome, the Arrow weapon system, and David’s sling,” Lowey says.

And the consul general wants to clear up any confusion about deploying Israeli ground forces.

“The Cabinet authorized the Israel Defense Forces to recruit 40,000 reservists, which means that if and if necessary we will use ground forces,” Aharoni says. “However, and it’s important to mention, the Israeli Cabinet has not made that decision yet.”

Lowey and Aharoni made their remarks during a conference call Monday afternoon. Joining them were representatives from the Jewish Federation of Rockland County; JCC Rockland; and the Westchester Jewish Council.

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