Senator Cruz voices firm support for IDF operation in Gaza

The Texas Republican also called on his government to work with Israel to “confront terrorists that threaten our nations.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Senator Ted Cruz voiced firm support Tuesday for the IDF attack on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group in Gaza that began very early that morning.

“Israel has taken necessary action against terrorist leaders in the Gaza Strip to protect its citizens and maintain national security,” the Texan Republican said in a statement regarding the operation the IDF is calling “Shield and Arrow.”

“The government of Israel has the responsibility and obligation to defend its citizens, and I stand with our ally as it confronts those who seek chaos and destruction,” he added.

He noted that the United States is also threatened by PIJ, due to its state sponsor, and that the allies must work together against such menaces.

“Such Iran-controlled terrorists pose a direct threat not only to Israel but also to the safety and security of the American people…. Our partnership with Israel is built on shared interests, and together we must confront terrorists that threaten our nations and American interests in the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

The White House sent its own message of support through its Israeli embassy for the operation, in which three very senior PIJ terrorists were killed in the first minutes in surgical airstrikes on their apartments.

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“Israel has the right to protect itself and its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by terrorist groups,” the embassy said. “We are also aware of reports that 10 civilians were tragically killed in the Israeli strikes. We call for all parties to de-escalate the situation.”

The civilians who were killed including neighbors and family members of the terrorists, among them children. The UN Security Council has already scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday afternoon to discuss the “concerning developments” in the region.

The meeting was called by the UAE, which condemned the operation and called on Israel “to halt the escalation “and avoid exacerbating tension and instability in the region.”

The U.S. can use its veto power to nix any one-sided resolution that may result from the meeting. It has done so often over the years when the international body castigates Israel for counter-terror operations while ignoring the Palestinian attacks that precipitated them, which may be the case this time as well.

Cruz may have been alluding to such aid when he said in another part of his statement that “The United States must continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself, and ensure it has the military resources and diplomatic support it needs.”

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While PIJ political bureau head Mohammed al-Hindi promised that “The Israeli enemy will pay for its cowardly crime,” there have been no attacks as yet, whether by land or air. The IDF has said that it has hit a few teams of PIJ terrorists on their way to try firing rockets in retaliation for the assassinations.

There have been reports Wednesday of Israeli jets striking rocket-launching infrastructure in Gaza, but Jerusalem has said that it has no interest in widening its operation. Shield and Arrow was purely an answer to the violent group’s launches last week of 104 rockets at southern Israel, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. The delayed reaction had been due to technical as well as tactical reasons.

In the early afternoon Wednesday, Gaza-based terror groups retaliated by firing a massive barrage of rockets into Israel, triggering sirens in Gaza border towns.