This was a pivotal week with many important developments directly affecting our work together.The president’s decision to leave the nuclear deal. Nuclear sanctions on Iran. An Iranian attack on Israel from Syria. The United States, Bahrain and others coming to Israel’s defense. An Iranian money laundering scheme thwarted. Key pro-Israel legislation advancing in Congress. New threats from Hamas.And all of this just days before Israel celebrates 70 years of independence, and the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.At a time of celebrating new milestones and confronting new challenges, Israel is safer because of our work together.1. Iran attacks Israel from Syria Iran launched 20 rockets from Syria toward northern Israel early Thursday morning.Iron Dome intercepted four rockets before they could land in Israeli territory. According to the IDF, no Israelis were injured.Israel retaliated with counter-strikes on Iranian military targets in Syria, hitting almost all of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria, according to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.Israel has been clear about its red lines: Iran will not be allowed to use Syria as a launching pad to attack Israel.In a rare and noteworthy statement, Bahrain publicly declared that Israel had a right to defend itself from Iran.American response:The White House issued this response on Thursday, condemning the Iranian regime’s “provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens” and strongly supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.Democrats and Republicans in Congress have also issued statements supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.Earlier this year, the United States secured $705.8 million for life-saving missile defense programs like Iron Dome.And just this week, a key House committee advanced legislation we lobbied for to ensure Israel has the means to defend itself against growing threats—most significantly Iran’s presence on its northern border.2. Reaction to the president’s decision to leave the JCPOA
On Tuesday, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal.He also signed a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. Where do we go from here? This decision is not an endpoint. Rather, it is an important opportunity to apply further diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran, in order to both prevent the regime from ever acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and to push back against its expanding regional aggression.As AIPAC President Mort Fridman wrote on Tuesday, “it is our collective responsibility to forge a bipartisan consensus to ensure America’s lawmakers stay focused on that effort.”This cannot be achieved by one bill, one initiative, or one announcement. It requires a long-term strategy, backed by the bipartisan support of Congress.3. Hamas hints toward mass breaches of Israel’s border this weekend Hamas continues to orchestrate riots along the Israel-Gaza border, using civilians as human shields to mask terrorist breaches into Israel.This is a conscious strategy to challenge Israel’s sovereignty.This week, Hamas said the next demonstration will be “decisive,” coinciding with Israel’s celebration of its 70th anniversary on Monday.On Thursday, the leader of Hamas in Gaza hinted at the possibility that tens of thousands of people could try to burst through the border and swarm into Israel.This will be the sixth week of Hamas-led riots.Congressional action: In anticipation of Hamas’ continued use of noncombatants, the House of Representatives unanimously (415-0) passed the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (H.R. 3542) earlier this year. The legislation condemns the use of human shields and mandates sanctions on those who engage in this practice. It now awaits action in the Senate4. BUSTED: U.S. and UAE expose money trail to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps In a major crackdown, the United States and United Arab Emirates took action this week to disrupt an extensive currency exchange network funneling millions of dollars to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force.This is a breakthrough in U.S.-UAE collaboration, stifling an operation that directly funded Iran’s malign activities and regional aggression.On Thursday, the United States imposed sanctions on six individuals and three companies that were directly providing these funds to the IRGC.”The Iranian regime and its central bank have abused access to entities in the UAE to acquire U.S. dollars to fund the IRGC-QF’s malign activities, including to fund and arm its regional proxy groups,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.