We know you’re already aware of the recent conflagration between Israel and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that took place over the weekend, but there’s a lot about the past few days that every pro-Israel activist should know. And one of the key pieces of information is how U.S. aid to Israel – which CUFI is backing as part of its 2022 Summit legislative agenda – played a pivotal role in ensuring no Israelis were killed in the conflict.

What Happened?
After Israel arrested a senior PIJ official, Jerusalem braced for reprisals from the blood-thirsty terrorist organization. And when Israeli intelligence got wind of an imminent attack, they launched a preemptive strike against PIJ in the Gaza Strip. The strikes came just as senior PIJ leaders met with their sponsors in Tehran.

The Israeli’s goals were twofold: defang plans to take revenge over the arrest of one of their top leaders and degrade PIJ’s ability to wreak havoc in Israel through the launching of rockets and other terrorist tactics. Though initially the Israelis indicated they believed the operation, dubbed Breaking Dawn, would last about a week, within three days the IDF had achieved its strategic goals and a cease-fire was agreed to. As a result of this operation, two top PIJ commanders in the Gaza Strip met their end, and the terrorist group’s infrastructure has been dramatically degraded.

It's worth noting that during the operation, the CUFI Action Fund’s Director of Government Affairs, Alexandria Paolozzi, was enroute with CUFI to the Holy Land. When we asked her about her feelings on the matter, her response was unequivocal.

“The idea that because of a conflict I wouldn’t go never entered my mind. Terrorists don’t get to tell free people when we can visit Israel. Quite the opposite actually; as CUFI has done on several occasions in the past, we know that one of the most important ways to show solidarity with the Israeli people is to go there and be there in good times and bad,” she said.

What is PIJ?
Though it was founded a few years before Hamas, PIJ is not as famous as its younger brother. Though they enjoy Iran’s support, they aren’t as powerful as Hamas either. But they are just as ruthless (if not more).

PIJ’s goal is to establish an Islamic state governed by Sharia Law from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Like other Palestinian terrorist groups, PIJ’s tactics evolved from bombings in the 1980s and 90s, to suicide bombings during the early 2000s of the Second Intifada, and now they often use rockets as their primary method of attempted murder. PIJ is fundamentally a genocidal terrorist organization, bent on Israel’s destruction and seeing every man, woman and child in the Holy Land come under their complete control.

As Iran continues to wage war against Israel through terrorist groups, PIJ will continue to be one of the proxies Tehran backs. But, thanks to the efforts of Israel’s military and security establishment, PIJ’s ability to kill has been lessened dramatically during the brief conflict that took place over the weekend.

What is Iron Dome Doing for the Free World?

According to the IDF, PIJ launched more than 1,100 rockets at Israel during the (less than) 72 hours of fighting. Approximately 200 of the rockets PIJ fired ended up landing inside the Gaza Strip, causing at least 16 Palestinian civilian deaths including children. While PIJ initially tried to pass off the photos of the dead civilians as collateral damage in an Israeli strike, this was quickly debunked online.

380 of the PIJ rockets were headed towards Israeli population centers and Iron Dome exhibited a 96% success rate – thereby saving countless lives. This goes to show just how important the fight to advance the Iron Dome’s replenishment in Congress earlier this year truly was. Without that support, innocent people would’ve died. We are pleased Congress finally advanced the measure, but that does not mean this is the last time we’ll have to faceoff against the Hamas Caucus in Congress.

Likewise, the recent round of fighting is a clear indicator of the importance of our being successful in advancing the U.S. aid to Israel we mentioned at the top of this Update. The Hamas Caucus will stop at nothing to try to hurt Israel; we cannot take any victory for granted. We must continue to keep up the pressure in Washington to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region is maintained. And this isn’t just important for Israel’s security. It directly impacts the safety of U.S. troops as well.

In fact, a few weeks ago, the United States Marine Corps successfully tested the Iron Dome system. After the test, Moshe Patel, the head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization noted, “This test has proven the Iron Dome Tamir interceptor and associated ground components can be integrated quickly and efficiently in any relevant defense architecture and intercept various aerial threats successfully in complex and advanced scenarios.”

It's almost cliché at this point to say that the U.S.-Israel relationship is based on shared values and shared interests. But sometimes it’s worth seeing that in action in a tangible way. The success of Iron Dome in protecting Israeli civilians and giving our Marines another way to keep their troops safe is further indication of the importance of the work we do. So, thank you for standing with Israel and supporting the Action Fund as we continue to ensure your voice on these vital issues is heard in our nation’s capital.

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