On Wednesday, March 5, the US House of Representatives passed a
resolution (HR 951) condemning Palestinian rocket attacks that include a
strident defense of recent Israeli tactics in the Gaza Strip. The
resolution also condemned Iran and Syria for "sponsoring terror attacks,"
and demanded that Saudi Arabia publicly condemn Palestinian actions.
The resolution was originally introduced in January, but contains new language
including a passage saying that that "those responsible for launching rocket
attacks against Israel routinely embed their production facilities and launch
sites amongst the Palestinian civilian population, utilizing them as human shields"
and "the inadvertent inflicting of civilian casualties as a result of defensive
military operations aimed at military targets, while deeply regrettable, is
not at all morally equivalent to the deliberate targeting of civilian populations
as practiced by Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups."
Although 23 Congressman
abstained or voted "present," only one bravely voted no: Rep.
Below is Rep. Paul's statement he gave to the House before the vote.
Mr. Speaker: I rise in opposition to H. Res. 951,
a resolution to condemn Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. As
one who is consistently against war and violence, I obviously do not support
the firing of rockets indiscriminately into civilian populations. I believe
it is appalling that Palestinians are firing rockets that harm innocent Israelis,
just as I believe it is appalling that Israel fires missiles into Palestinian
areas where children and other non-combatants are killed and injured.
Unfortunately, legislation such as this is more likely to perpetuate violence
in the Middle East than contribute to its abatement. It is our continued involvement
and intervention particularly when it appears to be one-sided
that reduces the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement.
Additionally, this bill will continue the march toward war with Iran and Syria,
as it contains provocative language targeting these countries. The legislation
oversimplifies the Israel/Palestine conflict and the larger unrest in the Middle
East by simply pointing the finger at Iran and Syria. This is another piece
in a steady series of legislation passed in the House that intensifies enmity
between the United States and Iran and Syria. My colleagues will recall that
we saw a similar steady stream of provocative legislation against Iraq in the
years before the US attack on that country.
I strongly believe that we must cease making proclamations involving conflicts
that have nothing to do with the United States. We incur the wrath of those
who feel slighted while doing very little to slow or stop the violence.