How Some Americans Support Terrorism Against Israel
By Bassam Tawil/Gatestone InstituteApril 22, 2023
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As Israel continues to face daily threats and terror attacks from Iran and its militia proxies, fourteen Democratic members of the US Congress have joined the Jihad (holy war) against Israelis by urging the Biden administration to reconsider US military aid to Israel.
The appeal, included in a letter signed by Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Sen. Bernie Sanders, was made public shortly after Palestinian terrorists shot dead a Jewish mother, Lucy Dee, 48, and her two daughters, Maia, 20, and Rina, 15, as they were driving to the north of Israel to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover.
In the letter, the lawmakers urged the Biden administration to ensure US taxpayer funds are not supporting "Israeli settlement projects," and to determine whether US military aid is in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which stipulates that US weapons are sold only for legitimate self-defense. "Furthermore, we call on your administration to ensure that all future foreign assistance to Israel, including weapons and equipment, is not used in support of gross violations of human rights," the lawmakers said.
Lucy Dee and her two daughters, Rina and Maia, were among 19 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the past two-and-a-half months. Last year, 33 Israelis were murdered and 192 injured in an unprecedented wave of terror attacks carried out by the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) groups, in addition to other militias affiliated with the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Congressmen's letter ignores the dramatic increase in terror attacks against Israelis and makes no reference to the scores of innocent civilians murdered over the past year by Palestinian terrorists. The letter further ignores that Israel's counterterrorism measures, which aim to save the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike, are a legitimate act of self-defense.
The Israeli measures, including raids on the homes of terrorists and confiscation of weapons and ammunition, are the direct result of a 300% increase in terror attacks over the past year. In 2022, there were more than 8,000 terror attacks, including 230 shootings, eight stabbings and seven car-rammings. When there is no terrorism, there is no need for Israel to launch counterterrorism operations.
By stating that the US should halt military aid to Israel, the signatories of the letter signatories of the letter are in fact saying that Israel has no right to defend itself against those who are openly calling for the elimination of Israel and engaged in daily attempts to murder Jews.
When Israel uses weapons, it is with the purpose of combating terrorism and protecting the lives of its people. When Palestinians use weapons, it is always with the aim of murdering Jews.
The Palestinians do not distinguish between a Jew living in Tel Aviv and a Jew living in the West Bank. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, all Israeli Jews are "settlers" living in one big illegitimate settlement, Israel, which needs to be replaced by a 57th Muslim state, as optimistically noted by the presence of "Palestine" among the 57 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), reportedly the world's "second-largest inter-governmental organization."
The members of Congress, in their letter, talk about the need for the US to stop funding "Israeli settlement projects." If this happens, it would be a big boost for Iran and its proxies -- Hamas and PIJ in the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah in Lebanon -- and even the Palestinian Authority. They outspokenly consider construction everywhere in Israel a "settlement project" and all Israeli Jews "settlers." As official Palestinian television remarked, "All Israel is 'our land Palestine' - including Safed, Haifa, Acre, and Jaffa," and "Israelis living in Haifa, Jaffa, and Be'er Sheva are 'settlers.'"
Hamas and its patrons in Iran are openly opposed to Jews building homes not only in the West Bank and Jerusalem, but anywhere in Israel. The reason? The mullahs in Tehran -- and their proxies in Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah -- believe that the entire country of Israel has no right to exist (here, here, here and here) and state (here, here and here) that Israel should be eradicated, primarily through Jihad (holy war).
Iran and its agents are undoubtedly delighted to see the Congressmen's attacks on Israel and calls for halting US financial and military aid. The Iranian regime and its friends want to see no country supporting Israel -- not politically, not financially, not militarily. They want to see a weak Israel that they can then rip to shreds, as they have done, and are still doing, to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
"The U.S. State Department reports that Iran provides some $100 million a year to Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad," multiple news outlets reported last week.
It is safe to assume that the letter signed by the Congressmen offers Iran's mullahs and their proxy militias a ray of hope that US politicians and lawmakers are also seeking ways to undermine Israel by depriving it of financial and military aid, hence facilitating their mission of eliminating it.
Iran and its proxy terror groups are already encircling Israel. They are sitting on its southern border, in the Gaza Strip, from where Hamas and PIJ continue to fire rockets regularly at Israel. They are sitting on Israel's northern border, in Lebanon and Syria, where Hezbollah also has a strong political and military presence.
According to the Alma research center in northern Israel, "Hezbollah currently possesses several hundred advanced conventional weapons, 70,000 'regular' Long - medium - short missiles and rockets, 145,000 mortars of all kinds, and about 2,000 UAVs." -- all pointed at a country, Israel, about the size of New Jersey, and posing a genocidal threat.
The Congressmen's letter, however, does not make any reference to these existential threats that Israel continues to face from Iran and Palestinian and Lebanese terror groups.
The Congressmen who signed the letter claim that US aid to Israel is being used to fund abuses of Palestinians' rights is, bluntly, nothing but libels and lies. Israel's counterterrorism operations are directed solely against the terrorists and their enablers, not against the Palestinian people, most of whom are not involved in the latest spate of terror attacks.
That is why most of the Palestinians killed in these operations were not civilians but armed terrorists. Regrettably, a few civilians were unintentionally killed during the Israeli counterterrorism operations -- but that is what happens when terrorists operate in dense residential areas and shoot at Israeli troops from the rooftops and windows of private homes.
The terrorists are using "human shields" -- innocent people deliberately placed in harm's way during incoming fire. These antics are part of shopworn plan to try to make Israel, when it engages in a counterterrorism operation, look bad. As the schoolyard bully put it, "It all started when he hit me back."
If the members of Congress want to find out about human rights violations, they are invited to take a look at the repressive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip against their own people.
Where were these members of Congress when the Palestinian Authority security forces beat to death human rights activist Nizar Banat? Where were these members of Congress when Hamas recently arrested Salem al-Sabah, head of the University of Palestine? Hamas did not offer any explanation as to why al-Sabah was arrested, but according to unconfirmed reports he had been accused of "corruption" -- a charge that may have been spurious. Hamas often just arrests political activists, journalists and academics who dare to criticize the terror group or its leaders.
Al-Sabah's family and several academics denounced the arrest as "illegal and arbitrary."
Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, Palestinian Authority governor of Gaza, also expressed solidarity with al-Sabah: "It is important that we preserve our reputation and cultural and scientific heritage," he said. The University of Palestine issued a statement condemning the arrest, as well.
Under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, there is no such thing as "free media." Palestinian journalists are targeted on a dismayingly regular basis.
Do the members of Congress who signed the letter have anything to say about the abuses committed by Palestinians against Palestinians? Will these Congressmen call on the US administration to halt funding to the Palestinian leaders who are abusing their own citizens?
On the same day the letter was published, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces said he was optimistic about the chances that Israel would soon be destroyed. "With divine grace, soon there will be nothing called the Zionist regime," he said. "The countdown for the disintegration of Zionism has begun." In official jargon used by the Iranian regime, Israel is called "the Zionist entity" or "the Zionist regime."
It is not clear whether the mullahs in Tehran were aware of the letter sent by their friends in the US Congress when they voiced hope that Israel was on its way to vanishing. What is clear, is that Israel's ruthless enemies must be rejoicing each time they see Americans calling for punishing and imposing sanctions on the small state.
Israel and the Jews living in the land, for more than 100 years, have been under attack - since long before there ever were such political pretensions as "1948 borders" or "1967 borders."
Now, as Israelis are once again burying their dead, a group of US Congressmen, instead of standing with Israel and condemning the terrorists, have chosen to call for weakening Israel and preventing it from carrying out even its basic duty of defending itself against terrorists who murder people for the "crime" of being Jews.
The Congressional letter awards a gold medal to the terrorists: it sends the message that if you are a terrorist, the US has your back.