Israel and the Middle East
Senator Pat Toomey believes that Israel is the United States' greatest ally and friend in the Middle East and is among its best allies in the entire world. Israel is a beacon of democracy and freedom in an area of the world largely suffering under dictatorships and political persecution. A strong relationship with Israel strengthens both countries in the continuing fight against global terrorism.
Unfortunately, Israel faces a number of threats to its existence from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons poses an unacceptable risk to Israel, the United States and rest of the world. Sen. Toomey believes that merely talking with Iran is not sufficient. He supports imposing and enforcing the strongest possible sanctions on Iran as well as on companies that violate the United States' sanctions law by engaging in business with Iran.
Sen. Toomey also believes that there is no place for Hamas in the future of a peaceful Middle East. Israeli efforts to defend itself from Hamas-led attacks should be supported, and we should demand that Palestinian leaders eradicate terrorist groups like Hamas from its midst. Israel also should be able to protect itself from all acts of terrorist violence, including Hezbollah attacks that originate inside Lebanese territory. The United States and the international community should also increase pressure on Lebanon to crack down on the terrorist activities within its borders.
Like every country, Israel has a fundamental right to self-defense, and Sen. Toomey strongly supports American military aid to, and military cooperation with, Israel. He also believes the United States should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and he supports moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Finally, Sen. Toomey believes that Israel has a right to secure borders as well as a right to accommodate and defend its natural population growth in the settlements. Moreover, Palestinian renunciation of violence and recognition of Israel's right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state must be a non-negotiable precondition for any peace agreement.
Sen. Toomey visited Israel in May 2011, where he and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The senators and prime minister discussed a variety of issues: the importance of the Israeli-American relationship; the threat of a nuclear armed Iran; cooperation on military, intelligence and other vital matters; and the Middle East peace process. While in Israel, the senators also met with Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Sen. Toomey has co-sponsored legislation in support of U.S. interests in the Middle East and the security of Israel, including the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Consolidation Act of 2011 (S. 1048). This bill would tighten petroleum-related sanctions pertaining to Iran. He also co-sponsored the Syria Sanctions Act of 2011 (S. 1472), which would sanction the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
During his second year in the Senate, Sen. Toomey looks forward to further opportunities to advance legislation and other initiatives supporting the security of the United States and Israel.