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Van Hollen strongly backs Israel

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A Maryland congressman who came under fire from constituents two years ago for criticism of Israel’s conduct of the Lebanon War is strongly backing the Jewish state’s actions in Gaza.

In a Tuesday statement, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said "Hamas’ decision to end the cease-fire and launch rocket attacks at Israeli population centers is wrong and unacceptable. Israel has a right to defend herself and issue ample warnings to Hamas about the consequences of ending the cease-fire. Hamas bears responsibility for the renewal of violence and must immediately end its campaign of terror."

Pro-Israel activists were upset in 2006 when Van Hollen wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stating that "a continuation of the bombing campaign [in Lebanon] as it is being carried out is against the interests of Israel and the United States." Van Hollen later clarified his original letter, noting, accurately, that he had never called Israel’s actions unjustified and emphasizing that the Rice letter had been meant as a critique of Bush administration policy in the Middle East, not Israel’s actions.

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