ZOA Criticizes Rep. Houlahan (D-PA) Anti-Israel Statements on Israel’s War Against Gaza’s Hamas Muslim Terrorists
February 19, 2024

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) criticized the anti-Israel statement published by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) on what she calls the ‘Israel-Hamas War.’ The statement contained at least six separate errors of fact, and unfortunately reflects talking points taken directly from pro-Hamas propaganda. In general, her entire approach is unrealistic, since she claims to want to “protect [Israel’s] citizens and sovereignty against the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas” and claims to want the “immediate and safe return of the hostages,” yet she chastises Israel for military efforts to accomplish those exact goals.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:

“It is shocking to see these slanders of Israel in the official statement of a member of Congress. The only hope here is that Rep. Houlahan is misinformed instead of malicious. I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt, so in that spirit I propose she meets with ZOA members to discuss the actual situation in Gaza. In the absence of her withdrawing these absurd statements, ZOA calls on her constituents to make clear to Rep. Houlahan that her comments are unacceptable.”

ZOA Director of Government Relations Dan Pollak said:

“We have appreciated Rep. Houlahan’s service to our country as an Air Force Officer. She has not signed on to the House Resolutions sponsored by the worst antisemites in the Congress and has expressed support for Israel immediately following the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorists. It is not clear to me how Rep. Houlahan and the other members of Congress who are expressing pro-Hamas propaganda have morphed into critics of the only path really open to Israel, which is to destroy Hamas completely and free the hostages by any means necessary. Her statement is not helpful towards these goals.”

The errors in her statement include:

  • She states, “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current stated intention to move the conflict to Rafah.”

The conflict is already in Rafah. Hamas has launched missiles from the area and extensive terrorist tunnels are embedded there. Senior Hamas terrorists are hiding in Rafah and directing the terrorist campaign against Israel. Hostages are being continually mistreated in Rafah, and it was in Rafah that two hostages were rescued on Sunday.

  • She states Israel intends to attack “Rafah with no apparent realistic or feasible plan to protect the innocent civilian lives who shelter there.”

This is completely untrue. At every stage of the attack on the terrorists in Gaza, Israel has gone to extraordinary efforts to prevent losses to innocent civilians. Unfortunately, every war has innocent victims. This war was started by Hamas and can be ended with their surrender at any time. Israel has enunciated its plan to relocate civilians to safer areas, and has advocated allowing civilians to relocate to Egyptian territory, which the U.S. has opposed and Egypt will not allow.

  • She also states that Israel has “not previously demonstrated the restraint that gives me any confidence that this would be an exception from past incursions.”

This slander is exactly backwards. Israel has not bombed indiscriminately and in fact has suffered additional casualties to its ground forces by flushing out terrorists instead of simply engaging the terrorists with standoff weapons. According to British Col. Richard Kemp, “The UN estimates that the civilian-to-combatant death ratio in conflicts since the Second World War averages nine to one. That is a shocking nine civilians killed for every combatant.” The current reality for Gaza is about 1.5 civilian deaths for every Hamas fighter killed, a phenomenal humanitarian achievement for Israel.

  • She says, “I do not see enough evidence that the Israeli administration has shown the appropriate commitment to these fundamental principles.”

Israel has demonstrated a greater commitment to the principles of laws of armed conflict than any Western country in the 21st century. The IDF has made phone calls to individuals in danger before airstrikes, and even dropped leaflets which informed civilians of intended targets and told them where to move to be safer. Hamas has pledged to repeat the atrocities of October 7th again and again if they are not defeated. If Hamas survives in Rafah, or anywhere in Gaza it will mean strategic defeat for Israel and more dead Israelis in the future.

  • She states, “Peace is possible, but only with those who are willing to come to the table and craft and honor negotiated agreements; only with those who adhere to the rules and laws of war; and only with those who seek just, real, and lasting peace.

It is difficult to read this section without ridiculing the Congresswoman. Her words are correct but need to be applied to the Arab side. Unfortunately, neither Hamas nor the PLO adhere to the ‘rules and laws of war.’ Even though a ‘cease fire’ was supposed to be in effect before October 7, Hamas was firing rockets into Israel repeatedly. The atrocities that day were timed to surprise Israel on a Jewish holy day. Peace is not possible with Hamas.

  • She states her highest goal is “to ensure that the possibility of a two-state solution is preserved.”

In the face of the barbaric terrorism enacted by Hamas and endorsed by the PA, any idealist who was in favor of establishing a Palestinian Arab state before October 7th is morally obligated to reconsider their wishful thinking. There was already ample evidence before the atrocities that the Arab side was not serious about living in peace with Israel regardless of any political or geographic concessions made by the Jewish state. The populated areas of Israel are all within reach of terrorists if they are allowed to establish a presence in Judea and Samaria as they have in Gaza. Every airplane arriving at or departing from Ben-Gurion Airport could be targeted by the Iran-backed missiles that a Palestinian Arab state would possess. Establishing a Palestinian Arab state is not a viable option for Israel to survive and prosper. In addition, the historic Jewish homeland is the area around Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. That territory belongs to the Jewish People.

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