Sen. McCain: Without Iron Dome, Israel would already be in Gaza

US diplomats support Israel’s right to defend itself, but stress need for negotiations: ‘No one wants ground war’

Yitzhak Benhorin

 

The Iron Dome anti-missile system has successfully intercepted most of the rockets fired at Israel since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense. The Interception rate was a source of pride for man US politicians, seeing as the United States contributed an estimated $300 million for the development of the system.

Iron Dome – Photo: AFP

Israel’s ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and Israeli diplomats have expressed Israel’s gratitude to the US’s financial aid on various occasions in recent days.

According to Israeli sources, the IDF aims to activate 13 Iron Dome batteries.

Republican senator John McCain said in an interview with CBS that “If it hadn’t been for Iron Dome, the Israelis would be in Gaza right now,” referring to a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip.

He added, however, that it was important to promote diplomatic solutions to the conflict. “It’s very important to recognize that the United States of America has got to push as hard as we can to resolve this Israeli-Palestinian issue, and so many events hinge on making that process go forward,” the Republican senator said.

יירוט של כיפת ברזל. שביעות רצון מהתוצאות (צילום: ערוץ 10)

Iron Dome interception – Photo: Channel 1

McCain stressed that in order to promote peace, the US must not set “preconditions on settlement freezes,” as President Barack Obama did in 2009.

McCain added that the second thing he would do to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians would be to “find someone, even as high-ranking, frankly, as former president Bill Clinton, to go and be the negotiator. We need a person of enormous prestige and influence to have these parties sit down together.”

Also referring to the Iron Dome, Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview with ABC: “The role of Iron Dome should always be remembered. It’s a very critical weapon system. It’s a defensive system. It’s had a 90 percent success rate.

“The president and Congress here are entitled to, I believe, a lot of credit for providing that system to Israel,” Levin noted.

As do many in Washington, Levin reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself.

He also addressed Egypt’s role in the conflict, stating that “The Egyptians have a real interest here in the region… in the peace agreement continuing to be abided by them; the agreement that they have with Israel. But I think that they’re going to have to take some very serious steps diplomatically to make it clear to Hamas that they’re going to lose support in the Arab world if they continue these rocket attacks on Israel.”

Senator Lindsey Graham delivered a direct threat to Egypt in an interview with NBC: “Egypt – watch what you do and how you do it. You’re teetering with the Congress on having your aid cut off if you keep inciting violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

“Obviously, no one wants a ground war,” King added, “but Israel has to determine what it has to do to preserve its security.”

 

View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4308026,00.html

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