Reaffirms Enduring Support for Israelís Pursuit of Peace
Washington, D.C. Ė Congressman Higgins today voted for the bipartisan resolution H.Con.Res. 322, recognizing the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel, which occurred on May 14, 1948.
ďThe passage of this legislation gives us an important opportunity to reaffirm the special bond that exists between the U.S. and the State of Israel, and to reiterate that the support for Israel in this Congress stronger than ever,Ē said Higgins, a member of the Democratic-Israel Working Group in the House of Representatives.
The legislation, which passed with broad bipartisan support: Recognizes the historic significance of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel;
∑ Reaffirms its enduring support for Israel as Israel pursues peace with its neighbors;
∑ Reaffirms its support for Israelís right to defend itself against threats to its security and existence;
∑ Commends the people of Israel for their remarkable achievements in building a new state and a pluralistic, democratic society;
∑ Reaffirms the bonds of friendship and cooperation which have existed between the United States and Israel for the past 60 years, and commits to strengthening those bonds; and
∑ Extends the warmest congratulations and best wishes to the State of Israel and the Israeli people for a peaceful, prosperous, and successful future.
Higgins submitted the following statement for the Congressional Record supporting the resolution:
I rise in support of H.Con.Res. 322, recognizing the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel on May 14th. Since its inception, Israel has been a close friend and ally of the United States, promoting democratic values in the Middle East. As we celebrate this anniversary, let us reflect upon the struggles that have come in the past and that are to come in the future. From them we can glean a sober hope for the continued peace and prosperity of Israel and the United States.
Israelís first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, was aware of hostility to the goals of Zionism, but sought that Jews and Palestinians live in peaceful coexistence in his newly formed state. Unfortunately, radicalism and resistance for this peaceful goal only hardened. The many conflicts that ensued, from the Six Day War to the Second Infitada, has made life difficult for all Israelis.
Today, Israel is taking serious steps in hopes of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians. In the West Bank, Israel is removing roadblocks and evacuating outposts in order to strengthen Palestinian President Abbas so the Palestinian Authority is capable of implementing a treaty. Unfortunately, in Gaza the militant group Hamas is engaged in the broadest and most significant military buildup in its history with help from Syria and Iran. Hamas is restructuring more hierarchically and using more and more powerful weapons, such as longer-range rockets against Israelís southern communities.
The most serious threats that Israel faces are external. Two weeks ago, Iran announced that they had dramatically increased its capacity to enrich uranium with the installation of 6,000 new centrifuges. In doing so, Iran continued to defy not only the United States but the international community as well. The United States and Israel must continue to provide a united front against this regime, while still reaching out to its people, in order to protect the citizens of both countries and prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
With the Arab population in Israel estimated to outnumber Jewish Israelis in the near future, building a lasting peace has never been more necessary to the continued existence of Israel. Fortunately, Israelís economy is strong and growing and the Israeli government is committed to a peaceful solution based upon political realities.
Our greatest hopes lay in the strength of the alliance between Israel and the Untied States and in the inherent rightness of the democratic values that both countries promote. That is why I am proud to stand in support of H.Con.Res. 322 and celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Israel, and I look forward to the continued role as an advocate for Democracy in the Middle East.