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WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, an occasion honored by H. Con. Res. 152, which passed the House by voice vote this afternoon:
"Forty years ago this week, America's Israeli allies triumphed over the greatest threat to their nation's survival since it was founded in 1948. By emerging from the Six-Day War victorious, Israel demonstrated that a country devoted to liberty, equality and democracy could not only exist, but flourish, in one of the most volatile regions in the world.
"In the weeks leading up to June of 1967, Israel's Arab neighbors amassed an immense force along their shared borders with the Jewish state. Their goal - as Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser then put it - was "the destruction of Israel," and they assembled 465,000 troops, 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft on Israel's doorstep to achieve this malicious goal.
"In the armed conflict that followed, Israel defended itself honorably, courageously, and effectively - winning the war in just six days and taking control of lands previously held by the invading nations. And in an unprecedented act of compromise, Israel offered to give back the captured lands in return for nothing more than a promise that Israel's neighbors would join them in pursuit of peaceful co-existence.
"Furthermore, Israel stated that the City of Jerusalem, which was placed under Israel's control as a result of the war, would once again be open to peoples of all faiths and nationalities - a provision that allowed Jews, Christians and Muslims alike to freely worship in the holy city.
"These actions in defense of peace and equality - undertaken by Israel just weeks after being attacked - help to demonstrate why the U.S.-Israeli relationship remains so strong to this day. The Israeli people have always worked hard to find common ground with their neighbors, even while facing profound threats to their safety and sovereignty. And just as Israel has never turned its back on the principles and values that all free nations share, America will never turn its back on her.
"It gives me great pride to support H.Con.Res. 152, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and recognizing the preceding struggle - and I look forward to many more years of fruitful partnership between the United States and Israel."