I received the following letter recently from Congressman Ed Pastor of Arizona regarding the escalating violence between Israel and the terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
September 10, 2014
Mr. Robert Tilford
(Address deleted for security concerns)
Dear Mr. Tilford:
Thank you for contacting me concerning the recent escalation of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
As you know, in early July, a series of tragic events transformed periodic attacks between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and Israel’s military into a larger conflict between Israel and the Gaza-based group Hamas, a US-designated terrorist group. This deadly conflict involved rocket fire, air- and sea-based strikes, and clashes between ground troops, and it is my understanding that both sides sustained casualties of militants and civilians alike. Following fifty days of fighting, and U.S. and international calls and efforts to end the violence, a tentative ceasefire began on August 26, though negotiations are ongoing.
The distrust and hostility that characterizes the Israeli-Palestinian relationship has produced immeasurable harm and tragedy for people on both sides of the issue. It is vitally important that peace be established between the Israelis and Palestinians, as their long-standing conflict involves complex issues that defy easy categorization of aggressor and victim. Violence and unjust treatment can be attributed to both parties in this conflict, and I believe that situations arising from the conflict must be judged and dealt with on a case by case basis without political bias.
The United States has been actively involved in encouraging, arranging, and facilitating past peace talks and negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders here in the U.S., which I believe has been the most appropriate form of involvement. Please know that I will continue to monitor this recent rise in hostility and the ongoing negotiations, and I will keep your comments in mind as I review all foreign aid, especially funding for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as Congress works towards finalizing the Fiscal Year 2015 State and Foreign Operations budget.
It was good to hear from you on this important matter.
Member of Congress