WASHINGTON, D.C.— The following are opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, from Rep. Greg Stanton during this week’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled, “Friend and Ally: U.S. Support for Israel after Hamas’ Barbaric Attack.”
Video of Stanton’s remarks is here.
More information on the hearing can be found here.
Thank you, Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Meeks, for convening this important hearing on support for one of our nation’s strongest allies: Israel. And thank you to our witnesses for joining us today.
Recently I’ve had many honest and emotional conversations with my constituents in Arizona . . . with people I have known, respected and worked with for decades. And I’ve heard the deep divisions, as well as the fear created by the tragic rise in antisemitism and islamophobia here in the U.S. As Americans, we can freely debate many contentious issues, but we cannot allow it to turn into hatred.
Since its founding 75 years ago, America’s support for the only democracy in the Middle East has been resolute and unwavering . . . and always, always bipartisan. That cannot, and will not, change.
But the reality is that Israel cannot be secure, and there can be no lasting peace for Israelis or Palestinians, no two states side by side, until Hamas is destroyed.
Hamas does not care about the Palestinian people. They care about one thing: The complete destruction and elimination of Israel . . . from the River to the Sea. In pursuit of that goal, Hamas has preyed on innocent Palestinians. Hamas doesn’t hide it: Its leaders talk about their willingness to make Palestinian civilians martyrs in their wicked mission.
And right now, Hamas is holding two-hundred and forty women, children, grandparents, Holocaust survivors hostage in unknowable conditions . . . hostages they’ve threatened to execute.
There can be no safe harbor for Hamas, and Congress must unequivocally support Israel in this fight.
I am a proud supporter of Israel. I always will be. Yet I am also a supporter of the Palestinian people . . . I support a Palestinian state—and I believe that every Palestinian has a God-given right to a more prosperous future.
The United States has been one of the best humanitarian partners for the Palestinian people for decades . . . sending billions into the West Bank and Gaza . . . and I’m grateful that President Biden restored U.S. assistance to the Palestinian people after President Trump ended it. Today, we should do everything we can to get aid to those in Gaza who need it the most. . . including food and clean water, medical care, fuel and shelter.
History has reminded us time and time again of the importance of a Jewish state. We must protect it. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because Israel’s security is tied to America’s national security. Shared Israeli intelligence boosts our own government’s ability to anticipate and respond to threats in the Middle East, and Israel’s qualitative military edge provides a measure of stability in the region.
This Congress needs to quickly pass a national security funding package that mirrors the President’s full request–one that includes humanitarian aid to Gaza, additional aid to our ally Ukraine, and funds to secure our southern border–and I’ll work across the aisle to get it done.