Congress to Trump: Protect Israel as Syrian civil war ends
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Congress to Trump: Protect Israel as Syrian civil war ends

Bipartisan letter from 400 lawmakers calls on US president to safeguard Israel’s interests

US President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 5, 2019. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
US President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 5, 2019. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nearly 400 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter to US President Donald Trump calling on him to safeguard Israel’s interests with Syria’s civil war coming to an end.

The letter sent Monday from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate urged Trump to ensure that Israel has the support and materiel to maintain its qualitative military edge in the region.

It also wants economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia and Iran to retreat from their support for the Assad regime, and calls for intensifying sanctions on Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist militia that is Iran’s ally.

“With the region in flux, it remains critical that we reiterate to both friend and foe in the region that we continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” the letter said.

A map provided by the IDF showing the approximate locations of a Hezbollah cell’s activities along the Syrian border with Israel, released on March 13, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The letter was spearheaded by the top foreign policy lawmakers in each chamber: Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, its ranking Republican; and Sens. James Risch, R-Idaho, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., its ranking Democrat.

The House and Senate combined have a total of 535 lawmakers.

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