By GOV. RICK PERRY
It’s difficult to imagine the terror that the people of Israel must live with every day. For Israelis, at any given moment a missile might be detected, rocketing toward a residential neighborhood; a bomber might detonate him or herself in a crowded public place; and terrorists sent by Hamas might infiltrate their borders through secret tunnels to kidnap or kill their children.
Thousands of miles away, it might be convenient to criticize Israel for having the temerity to defend itself against these murderous terrorist attacks.
Those of us who have been to Israel and have seen the effects of these attacks first-hand have a deeper understanding of what the Israeli people are being forced to endure.
On my own visits to Israel, I’ve visited with families who were afraid to let their children play outside, and seen the fortified playgrounds where they can go. I’ve seen the rubble of structures brought down by missile strikes and looked in the eyes of people who live with the threat of violence day-in and day-out.
The conflict between Hamas and Israel is merely one part of a much-larger conflict, one with far-ranging implications that can affect the lives of every person on the globe.
To begin, anyone tempted to suggest Israel has used a disproportionate amount of force to defend itself needs to remember the origins of this latest round of violence. It’s Hamas that continued to launch rockets, despite Israel’s willingness to discuss and abide by multiple cease-fires. It’s Hamas that uses Palestinians as human shields to protect its leaders and its arsenals, and to preserve its extensive system of tunnels. And it’s Hamas that would, if given the opportunity, take the life of every Israeli within range of its thousands of rockets.
Israel needs more than our passive support—it needs our vigorous support. The overwhelming success of the Iron Dome defense system has been the only thing to prevent the deaths of thousands of Israelis, and changes nothing in Hamas’ deadly intent. And under the circumstances, Israel’s response has been anything but disproportionate. In fact, Israel has taken extraordinary – even unprecedented – measures to protect as many lives as possible in its efforts to disarm and disable Hamas.
The United States must take the lead in bringing the international community together to demand the total removal of every missile in Gaza, as well as the complete destruction of the tunnel network being used by Hamas terrorists. To facilitate this, the United States must use the tools available to us diplomatically and continue to support the actions of the Israel Defense Forces. Should the international community fail to join us in sufficient numbers, the United States should block actions in the United Nations aimed at preventing Israel from defending itself.