US congress votes to back Israel

Politicians pass resolution "recognising Israel's right to defend itself".

    Israel and the US have a long history of close
    ties [GALLO/GETTY]

    "At the same time I cannot vote for this resolution because it barely mentions the human suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza."

    Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic congressman for Ohio who voted against the bill said before the vote: "I'm hopeful that we do not support the inhumanity that has been repeatedly expressed by the Israeli army."

    "We must take a new direction in the Middle East, and that new direction must be mindful of the inhumane conditions in Gaza".

    US-Israel ties

    Washington has been Israel's closest ally since 1948, when Harry Truman, the former president, made the US the first country to recognise Israel.

    The US has been repeatedly criticised by Arabs for its unstinting support of Israeli actions. The US frequently blocks United Nations resolutions critical of Israel and on Thursday abstained from a Security Council vote calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

    The House has passed similar measures in recent years by massive majorities.

    In 2006, the House voted to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah for "unprovoked and reprehensible armed attacks against Israel" and supported Israel's incursion into Lebanon.

    In 2004, the body voted to support a statement by George Bush, the US president, that it was "unrealistic" to expect Israel to return completely to its pre-1967 borders.

    The US senate had voted on Thursday to back its own resolution offering "unwavering commitment" to Israel.

    That recognised "its right to act in self-defence to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism" and urged a ceasefire that would keep Palestinians from firing rockets at Israel.

    Harry Reid, who leads the Democratic majority in the senate, said on Thursday following that vote: "Our resolution reflects the will of the state of Israel and the will of the American people."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?