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International Affairs  
World Leaders React to Israel's Operation in Gaza RULE United States

Posted: December 31, 2008

United States
World Leaders
Condemnations and Criticism

Israel's operation in Gaza elicited expressions of support from the U.S. administration and congressional leaders:

President George W. Bush: "Hamas has once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization that refuses to even recognize Israel's right to exist. In order for the violence to stop Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel, and agree to respect a sustainable and durable ceasefire. That is the objective to which all parties need to be working, and that is what the United States is working towards. … Hamas has an opportunity to be a partner in the peace process. There has been a role laid out for them for quite some time. They can recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and live up to previous commitments made by the Palestinians. Hamas, instead, is choosing to fire rockets into Israel. So, as I've said before, as many people have said, Hamas has a choice to make. Right now they are choosing to be a terrorist organization that fires rockets into Israel. … The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself."  (Statement delivered by Deputy White House Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe, December 29, 2008)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:  "The United States is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there. The ceasefire must be restored immediately and fully respected. The United States calls on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza." (December 27, 2008)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA): "Peace between Israelis and Palestinians cannot result from daily barrages of rocket and mortar fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza.  Hamas and its supporters must understand that Gaza cannot and will not be allowed to be a sanctuary for attacks on Israel. The United States must continue to do all it can to promote peace in the region and a negotiated settlement to differences between Israelis and Palestinians.  Humanitarian needs of all innocent civilians must also be addressed.  But when Israel is attacked, the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally." (December 27, 2008)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nevada): I strongly support Israel's right to defend its citizens against rocket and mortar attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza, which have killed and injured Israeli citizens." (December 29, 2008)

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (R-FL): "The most recent onslaught of rockets against Israel from Hamas represents a serious escalation in their war against Israel. The latest barrage of attacks by these Iranian-sponsored Islamist militants continue a pattern of indiscriminate targeting of innocent men, women and children in Israel that could not go unanswered. Israel had no choice but to defend itself.  The response of our democratic ally, Israel, has been carefully calibrated to halt the rocket fire, aimed at surgically eliminating Hamas militants and the teams that are operating the rockets, while at the same time making every effort to limit civilian casualties in the face of Hamas' callous use of innocent Palestinians as human shields. We stand with the Jewish State of Israel in its ongoing efforts to protect its citizens from those who seek its destruction." (December 29, 2008)

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