U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today issued the following statement concerning the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip:

“The events leading up to the recent Israeli airstrikes in Gaza are the responsibility of the reckless, terrorist leaders of Hamas. Regrettably, innocent civilians have been killed in Gaza, and that is, in part, a consequence of Hamas using civilians and their homes as storage sites and launching pads for their unguided missile attacks.

“Many of the individuals and organizations who are protesting Israel’s actions today never uttered a word of protest or condemnation over Hamas’ rocket attacks against the innocent people of Sderot and other Israeli communities, including rockets that hit private homes, schools and shopping centers.

“Hamas has been raining Qassam rockets down on Israel starting before the Gaza disengagement in August 2005. The Israeli government has responded to the persistent, unrelenting attacks against Israeli civilians as a way to disable Hamas' capacity to further inflict harm and terror on Israeli civilians.

“Ideally, a sustainable ceasefire by Hamas and Israel would be a logical, desirable, outcome in the short term to the current situation. Unfortunately, since the disengagement, Hamas has never ceased the rocket attacks.

“It is past time that Hamas renounce terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist within defensible borders.”