The Israeli-Jewish Congress Statement on Violence in Gaza
This week, as the State of Israel celebrated 70 years of independence and the historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, the terror organization Hamas waged an unprecedented campaign of violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians on the Gaza border.
First and foremost, we extend our full support and solidarity to the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces protecting our border and defending our citizens.
The deaths and violence we have seen in Gaza are a tragedy and outrage, noting however that at least 53 of the 62 deaths were Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists. Although innocent Gazan civilians were also caught up during these violent riots, full responsibility for this rest entirely with the Hamas terror organization, who initiated this assault and put innocent people intentionally in harm’s way.
At the outset, it is vital to dispel the widely reported myth that the Gaza riots were peaceful. They were not. The sole purpose of this well-orchestrated campaign, in which Hamas sickeningly even used children as human shields, was to incite violence and provoke conflict, in what was already a highly combustible situation on the Gaza – Israel border.
It is important to bear in mind, Hamas is a radical Islamic terror organization, sworn to Israel’s destruction. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union and much of the West.
A few weeks ago, the leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, a convicted terrorist himself, vowed: “We will tear down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.”
During the course of the violent events, the Hamas led protestors used bombs, molotov cocktails, IEDs and various other deadly devices to attack Israel and infiltrate our border for the purposes of carrying out deadly attacks.
There are 3,000 – 4,000 Israeli civilians along the border of Gaza, whose lives would have been in direct threat, were Hamas to have succeeded.
Faced with this intolerable, direct and unacceptable threat, Israel, like any sovereign nation, has the full right – and obligation – under international law to defend its borders, to protect its citizens and to prevent illegal infiltration from terrorists into its territory.
Responsibility for the tragic violence and deaths, that were entirely avoidable, lie solely with Hamas and Palestinian Authority, which instead of showing leadership and calling for calm, have manufactured this entire violent campaign. We call on the international community to unreservedly condemn the Palestinian leadership for inciting this violence and reiterating their support for Israel’s inalienable right to self-defense.
[Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson]