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Menendez Statement on Downing of Israeli Jet after Striking Iranian Targets in Syria

Newark, NJ – US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after Syrian forces shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet returning from a mission of striking Iranian targets in Syria. The airstrikes were ordered in response to an illegal intrusion into Israel’s airspace earlier on Saturday by an Iranian drone launched from within Syria.

“I will always support Israel’s right to take necessary action to defend its security, which is exactly what happened when Iran sent a drone into Israeli territory from Syria and Israel responded.  

“These events lay bare the absence of a coherent policy to counter Iran’s activities in Syria. It is far past time for the Trump Administration to move beyond empty tweets, bellicose speeches, and vague plans for U.S. military forces in Syria that lack the appropriate authorities or Congressional consultations. I call on the Trump Administration to take real steps that prioritize Israel’s security and to immediately consult with Congress. 

“A good starting point would be for the Administration to deliver the comprehensive strategy for countering Iran’s asymmetric and conventional capabilities called for in the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017.  That strategy was due to Congress on January 29, 2018. 

“Agreements with Russia to remove Iran-aligned forces from Israel’s border have not changed the situation on the ground in Syria.  Yesterday’s events underscore that Russia is unable or unwilling to push back on Iran.  Russia cannot and should not be viewed as a capable partner by any stakeholder who wants to see a politically sustainable end to the Syrian war.”