Rubio: “I hope the United States continues to be firmly on the side of Israel, because there is no moral equivalency here. What is happening between Israel and Hamas is totally 100 percent the fault of Hamas. There is no moral equivalency here. All of the blame lies on Hamas. And for this crisis to end, Hamas must either be eliminated as an organization, or they must lay down their weapons and adhere to the true precepts of peace. Which is the desire to live peacefully with their neighbor Israel.”
Washington, D.C. – In a Senate floor speech yesterday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed growing criticism of Israel’s response to Hamas, a terrorist organization that is conducting indiscriminate attacks against Israel.
In response to a letter he received from Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Ambassador to the U.S., Maen Rashid Areikat, Rubio criticized the Palestinian Authority’s continued willingness to govern with a terrorist organization and urged the Palestinian government to condemn Hamas.
On Thursday, Rubio joined U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to announce a new Senate resolution urging the Obama administration to ensure that any ceasefire does not leave Israel vulnerable to attacks from rockets or via tunnels.
The speech is available here. An excerpt from the speech is below.U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Senate Floor Speech
July 24, 2014
“So please don’t come to me and say that both sides are to blame here. That’s not true. This crisis would end tomorrow if Hamas would turn over its rockets and stop bombarding people. This would end tomorrow, by the way, if the Hamas commanders were not such cowards. And I’ll tell you why they’re cowards. Because while they’re on TV asking their people to go to the rooftops of these buildings, you know where they are? They are hiding in the basement. They are hiding in their basement command center, which by the way is located, as I said, in the basement, underneath of a hospital. This would end tomorrow, the civilian deaths could end tomorrow, if they stopped storing rockets in schools, including a U.N. school – where by the way, when the U.N. discovered these rockets, you know what they did with them? They turned them back over to Hamas.
“Don’t tell me both sides are to blame here? Because it’s not true. It isn’t true. This is the result of one thing and one thing alone: Hamas has decided to launch rockets against Israel. Hamas has decided to build this extensive network of underground tunnels so in a moment of conflict they can get these commandos into Israel and kill Israelis. And what is Israel doing? What any country would do.
“Of course this is not an excellent example, but imagine for a moment if one of our neighboring countries decided to start hitting us with rockets? What would the United States do? Would we sit there and say, ‘Boy, we really have to be restrained and hold back here?’ We would not tolerate that. Imagine if in your city, every night and every morning sirens were going off because rockets on their way in, and you spent the better part of the day running in and out of shelters and taking cover. What would you say? You would say, ‘Take care of this problem once and for all.’ Why would we ever ask Israel to do anything less than we would do, if we were in the same situation?
“And that’s what they’re doing. And in the process of taking care of the situation, tragically, civilians are dying. And you know why? Because Hamas is deliberately putting them in the way. And I just read you these quotes. Hamas is asking their people to do what their leaders themselves won’t do, asking their own people to get in harm’s way, to act as human shields. Because they want these images to be spread around the world. They are willing to sacrifice their own people to win a PR war. And I think it is absolutely outrageous that some in the press corps, domestically, and most of the press corps internationally, is falling for this game. So please don’t tell me that both sides are to blame here, and please don’t tell me that this was caused by Israel.
“In my time here in the Senate, I have had the opportunity to visit multiple countries. I have never met a people more desirous of peace than the people in Israel. But peace cannot mean your destruction – and that’s what they’re facing here. An enemy force that wants to destroy them, that wants to wipe them out as a country. And so it’s impossible to reach any sort of peace agreement with an organization like that. That’s what Israel is facing here.
“So, Mr. Ambassador, what I would ask of you is that you go back to your government and you ask them to separate completely from Hamas, to condemn what Hamas is doing to your own people, to condemn the use of human shields. That’s what I ask you to do. Stop writing letters to U.S. senators and being angry at us when, by the way – we shouldn’t be doing it because the law says that no money should be going toward any organization linked with Hamas. It is the United States that has been helping you stand up your security forces in the West Bank through our taxpayer money. Don’t be writing letters to the U.S. Congress complaining to us about what Israel is doing when the people you just created a unity government with is launching rockets against civilians in Israel and using its own people as human shields.
“I think you need to take responsibility for your own people, for your own part of the world. And if you truly want peace, peace begins with laying down your arms and stopping these attacks, and condemning those that are conducting these attacks and using innocent civilians as human shields. If you want peace, that’s what you should spend your time doing. Not trying to rally public support around the world for the idea that Israel is responsible for war crimes.
“And from our perspective, I hope the United States continues to be firmly on the side of Israel, because there is no moral equivalency here. What is happening between Israel and Hamas is totally 100 percent the fault of Hamas. There is no moral equivalency here. All of the blame lies on Hamas. And for this crisis to end, Hamas must either be eliminated as an organization, or they must lay down their weapons and adhere to the true precepts of peace. Which is the desire to live peacefully with their neighbor Israel.”