Republicans in the Georgia House of Representatives joined their congressional colleagues issuing statement of support for Israel, which has seen at least six civilians and one soldier killed this week by rocket attacks fired by the militant group Hamas from Gaza.
“In the last two days, more than 1,000 rockets have been fired at innocent men, women and children in Israel. The Israeli people are being attacked by Hamas terrorists bent on killing as many civilians as possible. It is appalling, and it must end,” reads the statement from members of the Republican House Majority Caucus.
The Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta said more than 1,100 rockets have been fired from the Palestinian-controlled area. While many of them have been intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, Israel alleges indiscriminate targeting of civilians in the southern part of the country, where 159 people have been injured.
In retaliation, Israel has launched more than 100 air strikes against militant targets, killing some civilians including children, though the country said it has taken pains to avoid collateral damage as it carries out an operation it is calling “Guardian at the Wall.”
The violence was touched off by a police raid Monday on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which Israeli authorities said was meant to disperse rioters fomenting unrest by throwing stones outside one of Islam’s holiest sites. Palestinian supporters have framed the police presence as an assault on Islam, coming against the backdrop of what they feel is increasing Jewish encroachment in the eastern part of Jerusalem.
The Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta circulated this statement blaming Hamas, the Gaza-based, Iran-supported group designated as a terrorist organization in Israel and the U.S., for the escalation of violence:
Israeli police took all the possible de-escalatory steps to prevent unrest in Jerusalem: stopping the entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day, changing the route of the Jerusalem Day Flag March and then ultimately canceling the march altogether, and asking the supreme court to delay the hearing on the issue of Sheikh Jarrah. Israel additionally showed restraint in the face of the first rocket attacks on Jerusalem. Every de-escalation tactic was met with further incitement and acts of terror by Hamas, culminating in the barrage of rockets now falling across the country.
Rioting and violence spreading throughout Israeli cities, with opposing Arab and Jewish mobs reportedly confronting each other in the streets. Warning of an all-out war, the international community has called for calm while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged both sides to avoid taking the law into their own hands.
Facing criticism from all fronts, President Biden has asserted Israel’s right to defend itself, while Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has called for Israel to respond proportionally and carry the burden of limiting civilian deaths in its legitimate defense operations. The U.S. is sending a diplomat to help quell the unrest.
Consul General Anat Sultan-Dadon thanked lawmakers for their support on Twitter and spoke to a group of supporters of Israel assembled in Sandy Springs Wednesday:
As #IsraelIsUnderAttack, I was honored to speak at a heartwarming show of solidarity and support for Israel in Atlanta. Thank you to the organizers & all who came to stand with Israel! ?? ?? #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/GKzkK64q8P
— Anat Sultan-Dadon (@AnatSultanDadon) May 13, 2021
The consulate is posting updates on Twitter at @IsraelAtlanta.