Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senator today to congratulate the State of Israel on the 62nd anniversary of its independence. His remarks highlighted the sacrifices Israel has made over the last six decades and the threats and challenges ahead as Israel seeks peace with its neighbors. Excerpts of his comments are below. The full statement can be found at cardin.senate.gov.
“Since Israel’s founding 62 years ago, every American administration has worked to strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Israel. This has been vital for Israel, as the nation is under constant threat of military and terrorist attacks, economic boycotts and diplomatic hostility – often merely due to the fact of its very existence. At this critical moment, when Iran is moving forward with its nuclear program and simultaneously strengthening Hezbollah’s capacity to attack Israel, it is imperative that the Obama Administration say in clear and unambiguous language that we stand with the people of Israel and will do all in our power to protect our shared values and national bonds.
“A nuclear Iran cannot become a reality. … One of our first steps should be immediate enactment of powerful and effective economic sanctions against Iran – and the foreign companies that do business with this rogue nation.
“While we work to minimize the key threats to Israel’s security, we must also focus on opportunities for peace in the Middle East. Israel has always been prepared to pursue those opportunities and make peace with its neighbors. Over the past six decades, despite diplomatic gestures, multiple Arab countries have repeatedly attacked Israel.
“Today, it is Israel who continues to acknowledge the necessary framework for any peace agreement – a two state solution. While Israel has shown willingness for direct negotiations, the Palestinians continue to be an unreliable partner in moving forward towards peace. How can Israel make peace with any partner whose so-called ‘moderate’ Fatah leaders are not willing to meet directly with Israelis leaders and whose Parliament is controlled by Hamas, an organization still sworn to the destruction of Israel?
“The role of the United States in this process must be one of an honest broker. President Obama must not place wrongful or unreasonable pressure on Israel – or worse – to put forward a proposal without Israel’s consent.”