Elkins Park resident writes Israel-Gaza piece for Inquirer | Rep. Dean votes for three security bills for Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific

Susan Dyshel Sommovilla, an Elkins Park resident, wrote a Philadelphia Inquirer Letter to the Editor on April 21 titled “Fairy-tale ending”.

The letter is a response to a Letter to the Editor from April 17 titled “Find Peace”, which reads as follows:

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean has taken a bold and clear stand for peace in Gaza, calling for the U.S. to suspend weapon transfers to Israel. She and 39 other colleagues from the House sent a letter to President Joe Biden on April 5, which said, in part: “In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers. We again strongly urge you to withhold any offensive weapons transfers until the investigation into the airstrike is concluded and, if it is found this strike violated U.S. or international law, those responsible are held accountable. And we again urge you to ensure that any future military assistance to Israel, including already authorized transfers, is subject to conditions to ensure it is used in compliance with U.S. and international law.” Peace-loving people everywhere welcome such moves for peace in that embattled land.

Andrew Mills, Lower Gwynedd

Sommovilla’s response is below:

The April 17 letter to the editor “Find peace” supports peace in Gaza through ending U.S. military assistance to Israel. What world is the writer living in? Where is his outcry against Iran and Iranian-backed militias surrounding Israel? Hamas has obviously succeeded in representing Palestinians totally as victims. Why have there been no elections in Gaza since 2006? Where is the Palestinian Alexei Navalny? Where are the Palestinian protests here in America and elsewhere crying out for the return of Israeli hostages or the surrender of Hamas to end the bloodshed? Israel is not perfect but would like to be left alone and in peace. In contrast, the dominant sentiment among too many Palestinians is the destruction of the Jewish state. For Jews on campus and elsewhere, here and around the world, the danger of hatred is increasingly palpable. Yet, somehow Israel has become the Big Bad Wolf.

In related news, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, who has offices in Glenside and is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the statement below on Saturday, April 20.

The statement discusses her support for three security supplemental bills for Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region, key allies of the United States, as well as global humanitarian aid: 

“As the United States, we have a responsibility to support our allies in times of conflict — and a duty to support democracies, whose security affects our own, worldwide,” Congresswoman Dean said. “At this moment, when our democratic allies are vulnerable, it is paramount that we provide aid. Therefore, I voted “Yes” to the three security supplemental bills for Ukraine; Israel; and the Indo-Pacific region, specifically Taiwan.”

For more than two years, Ukraine has fought against Putin’s cruel, illegal invasion—the latest in a decade of his land-grabbing agenda. Yet, in this war of Russian aggression, Ukraine is now rationing weapons and losing ground they fought hard to reclaim. The Ukraine Security Supplemental Appropriations Act will provide training, equipment, and weapons to Ukraine, as well as funding for the United States to replenish our own weapons stock. It will also fund oversight from the U.S. Department of State and USAID as Ukraine protects their young democracy. 

While Congresswoman Dean strongly disagrees with Mr. Netanyahu’s execution of this war against Hamas, Israel has a right and responsibility to protect the safety and security of its civilians — and more than half of the funding in the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act is for defense systems and replenishing our own weapons stock. The bill also includes more than $9.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Gaza and other vulnerable populations.

Finally, the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act will help our allies in the region, including Taiwan, defend themselves against Chinese aggression.

Summaries of the three funding bills can be found below: 

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