MidEast

In Bipartisan Letter, Some 400 Members of Congress Call on Trump To Ensure Israel’s Defense

An influential group of nearly 400 members of the United States Congress has called on U.S. President Donald Trump to ensure Israel’s protection in a letter sent Monday.

The bipartisan document, signed by officials from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, urged the White House to demonstrate American leadership in resolving the prolonged conflict in Syria.

“As some of our closest allies in the region are being threatened, American leadership and support are as crucial as ever,” the lawmakers said, “including assisting our ally, Israel, in defending itself in the face of growing threats” on its northern border with Syria.

The letter specifically addressed the threats posed by hostile states and terrorist groups, including the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and Iranian proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

“These groups’ ability to recruit, propagandize, and grow is alarming,” the letter warned.

“The region has also been destabilized by [the] Iranian regime’s threatening behavior,” the lawmakers noted, adding that the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah “now poses a more potent threat to Israel as well.”

In response to these threats, the letter recommended a series of measures to “limit the presence of terrorists and extremists, counter the activities of our adversaries and strengthen Israel’s security.”

These measures include support for Israel’s right to self-defense and a maximum pressure campaign against Iran and Syria with respect to their malign activities in Syria, as well as increased pressure on Iranian terror proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The letter was signed by 79 senators and 303 representatives. It was initiated by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and James Risch (R-Idaho), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

[Photo: Martin Falbisoner / Wikimedia Commons]