On July 28, 2014 Senator Harry Reid of Nevada asked for time to address the United States Senate regarding emergency aid to Israel:
“Mr. President, our great country has many friends in the world. We are proud of all the alliances we have, but certainly our deepest attachment is that which we have with Israel. The United States and Israel have stood by each other in good times, in bad times, in times of peace, and in times of war.
Right now our friends in the State of Israel are under attack. Hamas continues to indiscriminately fire thousands of rockets into Israel with the sole objective of inflicting casualties on somebody–anybody.
I was watching “NewsHour.” Every Friday they have a commentary, usually by Shields and Brooks. Shields is supposedly the Democrat and Brooks the Republican. David Brooks said so descriptively that he had never seen a conflict or read about a conflict in the past where one of the participants said: Kill some more of my people. That is what Hamas is saying. When Hamas fires these rockets, Hamas has no idea whether they will land at a military installation–they hope; a daycare center; they don’t care or an empty parking lot; they don’t care. They are firing these rockets indiscriminately.
Israel doesn’t have the luxury of not worrying about where these rockets land. It must respond swiftly in shooting down all rockets or else risk serious harm to its people. In thwarting these rocket attacks, Israel depends on what is termed and named the “Iron Dome.” It is a missile defense system. But as the number of rockets being launched from Gaza continues to surge, Israel’s Iron Dome resources are necessarily being depleted.
Last week U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requested that Congress allocate $225 million of emergency funding to help Israel reinforce its defense system. After 3 weeks of fighting Israel needs these funds to replace the weaponry it has used to destroy Hamas’s incoming rockets. But there is no guarantee that Israel won’t need our help again if this conflict continues for weeks or months. What this funding does do for the time being is it provides Israel with the resources to continue defending its people against these terrorist attacks.
Last Thursday the Republican leader urged the Senate to act quickly in approving the Defense Secretary’s request. I agree with my friend the Republican leader. We must pass legislation providing Israel with this critical aid, but in my opinion the $225 million being requested is only temporary. If Hamas continues to escalate this conflict, Israel’s resources–including the funding requested by the Secretary of Defense–will quickly be depleted.
With its current number of batteries, Israel has to prioritize populated areas and strategically important locations. The Iron Dome is a mobile system. They have to move it around. That means, unfortunately, there are some Israelis still susceptible to Hamas’s rocket attacks.
We should not give the Israeli people the minimum amount of aid and then cross our fingers and hope it all works out in the future. Each missile battery costs Israel about $50 million. Each missile Israel shoots to knock down one of those rockets from the Gaza Strip costs about $62,000. Hamas has already fired 2,500 of those rockets in just 3 weeks. As we speak, they are going out and continuing to fire them. As we know, they are located in schools, in neighborhoods. They are hidden all over–in mosques.
Taking into account what Israel actually needs to adequately protect its people, the United States and other allies should consider providing more aid to do more for the Iron Dome. Our Israeli friends shouldn’t be in the position of picking and choosing which parts of the country to defend.
The United States of America should live up to its commitments, particularly with our friend Israel, which happens to be the only true democracy in the Middle East. We can do better and we need to go further in protecting Israel”, said Reid.
Source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov/
Today Harry Reid is the powerful Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate.