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Speier backs Israel but raises concerns

By Aaron Kinney
Monday, January 12th, 2009 at 2:20 pm in Aaron Kinney, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County, Tom Lantos.

Rep. Jackie Speier voted last week in favor of House Resolution 34, which recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself and reaffirmed America’s commitment to its longtime ally.

But unlike many of her colleagues, who apparently believe that Israel is infallible, Speier expressed dismay with the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli offensive against Hamas has killed scores of innocent Palestinians, including children.

The Insider has seen one disturbing photo depicting the head of a child who was decapitated in an explosion.

“I am dedicated to Israel’s long-term security, but I am dismayed by recent events in the Gaza Strip,” Speier said in a statement on Friday.

“I do not question Israel’s right to defend its territory, but we must work toward a political solution that will break the cycle of violence plaguing the region,” Speier continued. “The violence only creates more disillusioned youths to swell the ranks of Hamas, just as rockets fired on Israeli towns’ only fuel calls for retribution.”

Speier also joined 24 representatives — including fellow California Democrats Barbara Lee, Joe Sestak, Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey — in sending a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to press for a cease-fire and take action to help the civilians in Gaza who are going without food and critical health care.

Speier’s predecessor in the 12th Congressional District, the late Rep. Tom Lantos, was a major Israel hawk — understandably, because he was a Holocaust survivor. It’ll be interesting to see whether Speier’s more evenhanded stance elicits any criticism from her constituents.

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