House defends Israel on Gaza


The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution strongly defending how Israel has repelled rocket attacks.

The non-binding resolution, passed 404-1 on Wednesday, was substantially rewritten since its introduction in January to include a strident defense of recent Israeli tactics in the Gaza Strip.

New passages include one saying that “those responsible for launching rocket attacks against Israel routinely embed their production facilities and launch sites amongst the Palestinian civilian population, utilizing them as human shields” and “the inadvertent inflicting of civilian casualties as a result of defensive military operations aimed at military targets, while deeply regrettable, is not at all morally equivalent to the deliberate targeting of civilian populations as practiced by Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups.”

More than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since last Wednesday, when Hamas and its allies intensified rocket attacks on Israel’s south and Israel retaliated. Palestinians say most of their casualties are civilians, while Israelis say most of them are combatants.

The casualty rate has drawn sharp criticism from Europe and the Arab world. Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, while principally blaming Hamas, has asked Israel to show restraint.

U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) initiated the resolution. The sole vote against was U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who preaches the reduction of U.S. involvement in overseas conflicts.

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