The uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, and throughout the Middle East, have drastically changed the future political landscape of the region. However, as this volatile period is navigated, it is imperative we work to ensure United States foreign policy interests are protected, particularly our relationship with Israel and its security in the region.
Terrorists recently have escalated attacks against Israel. More than 130 mortars and rockets have launched at Israeli civilian targets since the beginning of 2011. On March 11th, in the West Bank town of Itamar, five members of the Fogel family, including three children, were brutally murdered while they slept. Two weeks later terrorists attacked near the central bus station in the heart of Jerusalem, killing one and wounding more than 30. These tragic events are sobering reminders extremist groups and their state sponsors continue to pose a clear and growing threat to Israel.
The United States must remain steady in its unyielding support of our ally Israel. Israel long has been our nation's best friend in the Middle East, providing an important island of stability in an otherwise hostile region. This strategic relationship dates back to the Cold War when Israel stood as a bulwark against Soviet proxies in the Arab world. Now, we must continue strengthening this relationship, built around shared concerns and values, as unrest continues in the region.
Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Egypt, and the changes which will now occur in Egypt's government, creates a critical opportunity for the United States to help Israel. We work to ensure Egypt maintains its commitment to previously made international obligations. As U.S. officials meet with prospective Egyptian leaders and opposition figures, it is important they consistently emphasize Egypt's pledge of peace with Israel during this period of transition and in the future. Recently, I joined 326 of my colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, in sending a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the Administration to make every effort to highlight the importance of Egyptian-Israeli peace. Maintaining peace between Egypt and Israel is critical to regional stability during this period of transition and in the future.
Violence against Israel perpetrated by extremist groups is relentless, and it illustrates the need for the U.S. to continue providing strong and unequivocal support for our key ally. The same extremists who seek Israel's destruction also seek the destruction of the United States. Strengthening Israel's security against our common enemies strengthens U.S. security.
For more information about the U.S.-Israel relationship, the latest developments from Congress, or to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, please visit my website at www.adriansmith.house.gov