Israel Update – March 14, 2012

We are all concerned about the escalation of rocket fire in Israel’s south. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, of which Women’s League is a member, has issued an update on the situation. Israel Consul General in New York, Ambassador Ido Aharoni briefed the Conference on Sunday. The following comes from a summary of that briefing.

Background

Last Friday, March 9, the IDF acted on information received about two Hamas-linked Popular Resistance committees preparing to attack Israel. A targeted airstrike in Gaza on Friday eliminated Zuhair al-Quaissi, the commander of the Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees, who had a long history of planning violence and was behind the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. His son-in-law and fellow commander in the terror group, Mahmoud Hanini, was also hit along with a low level accomplice. The strike escalated into a barrage of Palestinian rocket fire into Israeli civilian areas along with counter strikes by the Israeli Air Force.

As of Sunday afternoon, Israel time:

  • 140 rockets were fired into Israel
  • 4 Israelis were injured, one gravely
  • 2 Grad missiles with a 120 km range had landed in Be’er Sheva. One of the missiles hit an elementary school.
  • IAF carried out 22 air strikes in 24 hours, 14 of which were against field operatives who were preparing to launch more rockets. 8 were against armament depots

The Iron Dome has had a 90% success rate, but 1 million people are still living under the range of rockets.

Since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, Hamas has continually used this area as a terrorist base to launch thousands of rockets. Israel is not interested in an escalation and has displayed restraint, but Israel must defend its citizens.

The Popular Resistance Committee and Islamic Jihad have taken responsibility for the rocket attacks. Hamas has been using these terror groups as proxies to attack Israel. We hold Hamas ultimately responsible as rulers of Gaza.

Israel’s assessment is that Hamas in not interested in escalation. However, there is concern about Hamas building a military foundation like Hizbollah did in Lebanon.

Israel’s Prime Minister has issued a statement about Israel’s right to self-defense.

The U.S. has condemned the rocket fire into Israel. The Conference of Presidents has called on the international community to denounce the attacks and to prevent weapon flow and financial support enabling future attacks.

Action Recommendation

It is imperative to expose media bias and double standards related to reporting from Israel. Last week, on a day that 300 people were butchered by the government of Syria, The New York Times ran a front page photo of Israeli soldiers firing rubber bullets. Various reports on the events in Gaza cited the number of ‘Palestinians’ killed without noting that they were terrorists often in the midst of a planned attack. Even Hamas and other official statements acknowledged this. We must continue to bring this double standard to light and to insist that the media expose the atrocities in Syria and Iran with the same focus they report on events in Gaza.

Israel Advocacy Seminar

MERCAZ is holding its second Israel Advocacy Training Seminar for synagogue members who will form or strengthen local Israel advocacy committees at April 22-23, in the greater Chicago area. We urge you or someone from your sisterhood/sisterhood to attend. For information, please contact Rabbi Robert Golub (rgolub@mercazus.org).

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