Congress to UN: Hamas’ Arsenal Must Be Removed

Diverse group of lawmakers, Jewish groups back disarmament of Hamas

The smoke trail of multiple missiles fired by Palestinian militants from inside northern Gaza Strip
The smoke trail of multiple missiles fired by Palestinian militants from inside northern Gaza Strip / AP
• July 29, 2014 9:00 am


Nearly 100 House lawmakers will petition the United Nations this week to formally designate Hamas’ rocket arsenal as "an impenetrable barrier to regional peace" and to make their removal from the Gaza Strip a "top priority," according to a copy of the unsent letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers have already signed on to the letter, which will be sent later this week to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The letter comes as Hamas ignores all recent ceasefire agreements and continues to fire rockets at Israeli civilians, who have been seeking shelter from these attacks for weeks since Hamas launched its latest war on Israel.

As the Israeli military continues its campaign to dismantle Hamas’ network of underground tunnels and clear the strip of missiles, House lawmakers led by Reps. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.) and Brad Schneider (D., Ill.) are pushing the U.N. to take a more active stance against Hamas.

"We, the elected representatives of the American people, call on the United Nations to formally recognize Gaza's rockets as an impenetrable barrier to regional peace, and to make their immediate removal a top priority," write the lawmakers, who are joined on the letter by 10 leading pro-Israel organizations.

"We urge the United Nations to take the steps necessary to make the removal of Hamas’ rockets a top priority," states the letter, which is signed by lawmakers who, in a somewhat surprising show of bipartisan support, are both extremely liberal and extremely conservative.

"Doing so will bring much needed stability to a region that has been plagued by terror and suffering for too long and is imperative to any effort to bring a lasting peace to the people of Israel and Gaza," they write.

The U.N. has done little to censure Hamas for engaging in a litany of war crimes in recent weeks, including using civilians as human shields and intentionally targeting civilians with rockets.

However, the United Nations, led by Arab member states, has sought to condemn Israel’s defensive maneuvers and force Israel to make concessions to Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror organization.

U.S. efforts to broker a ceasefire have also favored Hamas’ demands on Israel, which has forced the Jewish state to flatly reject these proposals, according to reports.

Lawmakers petition the U.N. to take Hamas’ rocket supply—some of which is supplied by Iran and its affiliates—as a serious threat to international safety.

"More than 9,000 rockets have been fired out of Gaza since 2001," the letter states. "Once considered to be short-range threats with minimal payloads, Hamas has continuously improved the range and lethality of these rockets to ensure a maximum threat to Israel."

"Hamas can now reach virtually every major population center in Israel, with deadly effect," they write. "Today, every rocket fired puts the long-sought peace between Israel and the Palestinians further out of reach."

While U.S. lawmakers are coming together to express their support for Israel and disdain for Hamas, many leaders across the world have focused solely on Israel’s military campaign, chastising the Jewish state for its efforts to destroy Hamas’ terror network.

"In its rush to secure a ceasefire, the international community is ignoring the most important factor," said Aaron Menenberg, a fellow at the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), one of the many Jewish groups supporting the House letter to the U.N.

Like the lawmakers who signed on, a diverse mix of interest groups back the letter, including: The Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA), the Republican Jewish  Coalition, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), the Zionist Organization of America, and even the liberal fringe group J Street, among others.

"For Hamas this war is about fundraising and credibility-boosting," said IAF’s Menenberg. "For Israel, it's about restoring calm and preserving life. Both are fighting for survival, but only one is worth preserving. If the world wants to end the fighting, it needs to end Hamas, and that starts with getting rid of its rockets."

Hamas’ use of sophisticated Iranian-made rockets that can reach deep into Israel has been a game changer this time around, Menenberg said.

"It was always unacceptable to fire rockets on civilian populations. But now, Hamas has the capacity to reach nearly all of Israel's population," he said. "It takes the threat to a whole new level. Without removing the rockets, this will only continue and become deadlier in the months and years ahead."

Published under: Gaza, Hamas, Israel, United Nations