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Senate Committee Resolution Supports Israeli Action on Iran

  • Cecily Hilleary

US President Barack Obama (C), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and President Shimon Peres (L) listen to the national anthem at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport upon Obama's arrival on Mar. 20, 2013

US President Barack Obama (C), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and President Shimon Peres (L) listen to the national anthem at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport upon Obama's arrival on Mar. 20, 2013

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a resolution expressing U.S. solidarity with Israel if it has to defend itself militarily against Iran’s nuclear development program.

The resolution, introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), was approved Tuesday and must now be considered by the full Senate.

Resolution 65 says Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability poses a threat to the United States, the West and Israel. It urges the full implementation of U.S. and international sanctions on Iran and calls on President Obama to continue to strengthen their enforcement.

“If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the resolution said, "the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."

The original bill, introduced in late February, Originally, the bill referred only to “self-defense,” not "legitimate self-defense," and it did not mention Congress' authority to authorize the use of force.

Ori Nir, spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, said APN is happy with the new language.

“Some Senate staffers referred to the initial resolution as a 'backdoor to war' with Iran, a de-facto authorization, which is neither good for Israel nor for the U.S.,” Nir said. We called on our activists to point out the pitfalls of S. Res. 65 to their Senators, and thankfully the problematic initial language of the resolution was dropped or softened."

Passage of the resolution came as Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned during Independence Day celebrations that Israel might have to go it alone against Iran.

Former Israeli diplomat Josef Olmert told VOA, “The question of Iran's nuclear program may have been pushed to back pages, but the Senate initiative, as well as statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon suggest the level of concern that still exists.

Olmert said he hopes the tensions between Israel and Iran can be resolved peacefully, but that “if all options are on the table, as we constantly hear, then it is encouraging for the Israelis to know that bipartisan support in the US is as solid as ever.”

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