Senate backs Israels goals in Gaza conflict

The Senate unanimously supported Israel’s goals in its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a posture that distances the body from President Barack Obama’s call for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire.

In a rare joint action, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader, initiated the resolution passed July 29 by unanimous consent.

The resolution “supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’ unrelenting and indiscriminate rocket assault into Israel and Israel’s right to destroy Hamas’ elaborate tunnel system into Israel’s territory.”

That aligns with the goals set forth July 28 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel would stay in Gaza until the tunnels reaching into its territory are destroyed.

The resolution also supported U.S. efforts to achieve a “durable cease-fire agreement that immediately ends Hamas’s rocket assault and leads to the demilitarization of Gaza.”And it condemned a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution last week calling for an inquiry into the conduct of the conflict.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the passage of the non-binding resolution. — jta