Lawmakers react to Hamas attacks on Israel

Members of Congress reacted with concern and outrage to a surprise attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel Saturday.

“Our strongest ally in the Middle East is under attack,” former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Saturday. “Make no mistake: Israeli civilians are being slaughtered by Hamas terrorists. We condemn these attacks, stand with our dear ally, Israel, and support its right to defend itself in this war.”

Hamas’s attack consisted of infiltrating Israeli towns and launching missiles. Fighting has left at least 250 people in Israel and 232 in Palestine dead, according to Israeli local media reports and the Palestinian government. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “murderous” in a televised address Saturday.

“We are at war — not in an operation or at rounds, but in a war,” Netanyahu said. “The enemy will pay an unprecedented price…We are at war and we will win it.”

Florida Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D) said the attack “must be condemned by all nations” in a post to X Saturday.

“Israel was attacked by a Hamas terror group funded & supplied by Iran,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R) said in an X post. “And the continued appeasement of Iran is encouraging these attacks.” 

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the U.S. “unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians.”

“There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Adrienne Watson said in a statement. “National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has spoken to Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and we remain in close contact with our Israeli partners.”

New York Rep. Ritchie Torres said he “unequivocally” stands with Israel in his own X post on the situation.

“Hamas has declared war on Israel, launching surprise attacks, invading Israeli towns, firing well over 2000 rockets, murdering 22 Israelis, and otherwise attacking Israel by air, land, and sea,” Torres said. “Israelis are doing precisely what we, as Americans, would do if we found ourselves under sudden attack: defending themselves.”

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) said the U.S. “must unflinchingly support Israel’s right of self defense in all its fullness.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said he is “shocked by the barbaric images we are seeing of Hamas’ violence and by reports Hamas is taking innocent Israeli citizens hostage.”

“The United States grieves with Israel as they mourn their murdered citizens today. This horrifying violence must end,” McCaul said in a statement. “This is why I strongly support robust U.S. security assistance to Israel – because Israel always needs to be ready and able to fight back at any time. Israel has a right to defend itself and the United States stands with our friend and ally.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) posted a statement on the attack, saying the “loss of life in Israel as a result of the violent, calculated and unprovoked attack by Hamas is heartbreaking.”

“America stands firmly and unequivocally with Israel,” Jeffries said. “We will strongly support Israel’s right to defend herself from this despicable attack that targeted civilians, including Israeli children, with rockets, gunfire and violent kidnappings.”

Other lawmakers who have condemned the attack so far include Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) and Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.).

Updated 4:32 p.m.

Tags Abigail Spanberger Benjamin Netanyahu Carlos Gimenez Dan Bishop Don Bacon Hamas Hamas Israel Israel Israeli-Palestinian conflict Jake Sullivan Jared Moskowitz Kevin Hern Kevin McCarthy lawmakers Marco Rubio Michael McCaul National Security Council palestine Ritchie Torres X