WASHINGTON — Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) released the following statement Nov. 2 on the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act.
“In a painful and precarious moment at home and abroad, I was hopeful for the House to produce and pass a bipartisan solution to the challenges facing our nation and our allies, one that could make its way through the Senate and to the president’s desk. This is not that.
“I support our ally Israel in its right to exist and meeting its pressing security needs as Israelis grieve and respond to the barbarous attacks waged by Hamas on Oct. 7. And I do intend to support military aid to Israel – as I have many times before – for its defense and to degrade the capacity of Hamas.
“However, such military support to Israel should be combined with humanitarian assistance to support the Palestinians and Israelis who are suffering in this crisis. The bill before the House today not only excludes that humanitarian aid, but also includes a partisan effort to reduce the ability of the IRS to crack down on wealthy tax cheats and creates a dangerous precedent tying poison-pill riders to national security bills, which is why I cannot support it.
“I join President Biden in his remarks last night, in which he called for a ‘humanitarian pause’ to provide space for the release of hostages and relief for civilians on the ground. What I cannot support is a protracted ground invasion absent substantial humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people that will lead to further loss of life and breed more extremism.
“Israel must continue to ensure that water, food, electricity, and telecommunications are freely available to Palestinians. Israel must also be expected to obey international law in its campaign to destroy Hamas and make every attempt to avoid civilian casualties. Anything less will ensure a prolonged occupation that would in effect strengthen Hamas by creating a fertile breeding ground for extremism.
“Hamas must release the hostages it has kidnapped from Israel, allow humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza undisrupted, and cease its rocket attacks against Israeli civilian targets. A Palestinian state cannot be achieved through bloodshed and terror, only through dialogue and diplomacy. All actors in the region must recognize the impact their actions have on this situation, and resolve to use their influence to ease tensions, not inflame them.
“The Middle East and the world have been irreversibly changed by the events of Oct. 7, and our path to reconciliation and healing cannot be one that leads in the same direction as before. Congress must deliberate a serious package responsive to the needs of the moment, and we must also begin working towards a vision where these two peoples can live safely together without being cruel to one another.
“It will take, as President Biden said, a ‘concentrated effort from all the parties — Israelis, Palestinians, regional partners, global leaders — to put us on a path toward peace.’ Military action alone cannot destroy Hamas. It will take a commitment from Israel, from Palestinian leaders, and from the international community to improving the daily lives of the Palestinian people to move the peace process forward.
“Lip service alone cannot be paid to the two-state solution — its realization is, without exaggeration, imperative to preserving the world order. Our commitment to rooting out extremism and ensuring democracy and justice for all must guide this moment.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve a state, and deserve to live in peace.”