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Resolution Recognizes Israel’s Undeniable Right to Defend Itself Against Security Threats

WASHINGTON — In recognition of the State of Israel as a strong and steadfast ally to the United States, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) today introduced a resolution to express the sense of the Senate that Israel has an undeniable right to self-defense and to condemn the recent destabilizing actions by terrorist operatives and extremists aboard the Mavi Marmara.

“Every country has a right to defend itself, and Israel is no different,” said Senator Cornyn. “The flotilla was a disgraceful and premeditated attempt to provoke a violent confrontation with Israel, hidden under the cloak of a humanitarian relief effort. This type of despicable conduct must be condemned and I hope my colleagues will join me in cosponsoring this important resolution to help remind the world that the United States stands with Israel.”

On May 28th, 2010, the “Free Gaza” flotilla, sponsored by a Turkish organization and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which included the Mavi Marmara and five other ships, departed from a Turkish port and sailed towards Israel’s defensive naval blockade of Gaza. On May 31st, 2010, after repeated Israeli calls to turn around or be peacefully escorted to a port outside of Gaza, the Israeli Navy intercepted the Mavi Marmara 75 miles west of Haifa, Israel, to maintain the integrity of blockade and prevent the potential smuggling of arms and other materials to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Upon boarding, the Mavi Marmara passengers brutally and violently attacked members of the Israeli Navy with knives, clubs, pipes, and other weapons. Israelis used lethal force in self-defense and killed nine attackers.

Senator Cornyn’s resolution places these events in their historical and strategic context. Since 2001, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations have fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, which killed at least 18 Israelis and wounded dozens more. Currently, approximately 860,000 Israeli civilians—more than 12 percent of Israel’s total population resides within range of the rockets fired from Gaza. In 2007, Israel put in place a legitimate and justified blockade of Gaza out of concern for the safety of its citizens, which has been effective in reducing the firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.

Senator Cornyn’s resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that Israel has an undeniable right to defend itself against any threat to its security. Senator Cornyn’s resolution also makes clear that recent criticism of Israel at the United Nations undermines Israel’s inherent right to self-defense, compromises its sovereignty, and helps legitimize Hamas.

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