Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in support of Israel's right to self defense:

"For months - even before it officially violated the so-called cease-fire - the terrorist organization Hamas has been relentlessly firing missiles into Israel from Gaza, spreading terror, inflicting damage, and killing innocent civilians. No country would be expected to sit on its hands and simply allow its citizens to endure these kinds of vicious attacks without retaliating against the responsible party. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense and its decision to go after Hamas in response to the unyielding and increasingly far-reaching missile attacks. We all want peace in Gaza and hope that it will come very soon, but peace cannot be achieved so long as Hamas continues missile attacks. If a just and lasting cease-fire is to occur, it is incumbent upon Hamas to immediately and permanently halt all attacks against the Israeli people. As for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, I believe the United States and other countries can and should play a role in helping civilians in Gaza meet their basic needs through international assistance - without interference from Hamas - and I believe Israel has taken the right action with temporarily halts in military operations and creation of a humanitarian corridor to allow civilian aid into Gaza."

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