I firmly support the unique relationship between America and Israel. As the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a vital strategic ally and a key economic partner to the United States. It is important to me that we continue to build the decades-long partnership between our two nations. One of my top priorities as a Member of Congress will be to support the safety and security of the State of Israel.
Our two nations’ shared values are at the core of the US - Israel relationship. I will strongly back continued aid to Israel under the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding in support of its security and those shared values. This is an investment that benefits both nations, increasing trade and driving cutting-edge research in a range of fields.
My perspective on Israel is based on my experience as a Soldier. I've spent my entire adult life training to defend my nation, and I’ve witnessed Israeli Defense Forces training to defend theirs. I admire their professionalism and abilities, know the importance of maintaining a qualitative military edge, and fully support the right of Israel - like all nations - to exist and be secure within its borders.
Of special concern to me are the strategic and tactical implications of weapons and physical borders. I understand better than many the challenges Israel faces as a small state in an often-hostile region. It was a rocket-propelled grenade that brought down my helicopter in Iraq, and my mission there was often to protect against an enemy that did not respect civilian lives. My husband is a former Air Defense Artillery officer so we have a special recognition of the devastation that rocket and missile attacks can cause.
Long-term peace requires more than just physical border security, which is why I support a two-state solution arising from direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel must be recognized as a Jewish democratic state, living in peace alongside a non-militarized Palestinian state.
There can be no substitute for direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. America has a critical leadership role to play, promoting and supporting peace talks and helping overcome differences. But the US should not impose conditions, and must continue to stand firm against any outside effort that circumvents negotiations between the state of Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian people.
Israel has taken bold and risky steps toward peace throughout its history. Israel should continue to take those steps, and the Palestinians must match those efforts. Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai was key to achieving peace with Egypt, and the unilateral move out of Gaza in 2005 should leave no doubt about Israel’s commitment to lasting peace with the Palestinians.
I also recognize the existential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran to Israel, the entire Middle East and US interests. The US must stand ready to confront that threat, not only for the sake of Israel, but for all those who support peace and democracy. Iran’s nuclear ambitions must be stopped – the recent IAEA report only makes the need for action more urgent – and I strongly support new sanctions as a first step.
As the effects of the Arab Spring continue to unfold, US leadership and diplomacy will be crucial to ensuring that existing agreements – including the Camp David Accords – are honored, and that the emerging democracies in the region represent the highest ideals of that movement. We must do everything in our power to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity for peace, and to shut out those who would threaten that goal.