Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday met with two visiting senior members of the US Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel and Ed Royce, thanking them for the US support of Israel during Operation Protective Edge.
Liberman said Israel was particularly thankful for US support in developing the Iron Dome missile defense system which contributed to what he referred to as the "unshakable relations" between the two countries.
Royce said the fact that the Congress had approved 425-8 a bill to provide more ordnance for the Iron Dome to Israel during the Gaza operation showed the overwhelming bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
He said the missile defense system saves Israeli lives and saves lives on the other side by allowing Israel to deal with threats without having to invade on the ground, such as in the Second Lebanon War.
Royce said Israel should not be expected to negotiate with Hamas, an organization more interested in "maiming and killing than it is in the future of its people."
Engel said Hamas is a brutal terror organization comparable to Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS).
Both Royce and Engel are senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Royce (R-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, and Engel (D-N.Y.), its ranking member, are also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, as well as Palestinian Authority officials. They also will tour an Iron Dome battery, according to a statement from the House committee.
In a statement, Royce said the lawmakers “are traveling to Israel to show bipartisan support at a critical time.”
“With Iran’s backing, Hamas was able to launch a barrage of rockets on innocent Israelis, reaching further and deeper into the country. Now with a cease-fire in place, we’ll be meeting with senior Israeli leaders as they chart their course forward,” he said. “We’ll also assess the other threats to Israel – and the United States – including Iran’s nuclear program and the continuing Syrian implosion and its severe humanitarian and security consequences.”
Engel said in a statement that the two lawmakers “are making this trip to deliver a clear message: the Congress and the people of the United States stand with Israel.”
Last month, the committee unanimously passed an amended version of the Emergency Iron Dome Replenishment Act that authorizes the continued supplying of the missile defense system.