Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
Statement Regarding Operation Protective Edge
July 17, 2014
Since July 7, Hamas has launched over 1,350 rockets into Israel. These attacks purposefully target major civilian centers, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Jerusalem. In response, Israel countered with airstrikes designed to end the rocket fire, restore security to Israeli civilians and deter future attacks.
In Israel, warning sirens blast dozens of times every day and night, forcing six million Israelis (over 70% of the population) to run into the nearest bomb shelter, often with only 15 seconds to reach safety. Try to imagine 70% of our country — 220 million Americans — under daily rocket attack: dinners interrupted, wedding ceremonies halted, children awakened in the middle of the night as families scramble to find shelter.
According to Ambassador Ibrahim Kraishi, Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council: “The missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets.”
On July 15, Egypt proposed a cease-fire backed by the United States, the Mideast Quartet, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. Israel accepted and ceased fire for six hours while Hamas continued to launch rockets averaging one every seven minutes. On July 17, Israel accepted the UN’s request for a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire in order to minimize the effect this conflict is having on innocents within Gaza. Two hours into the ceasefire, Hamas launched three mortar shells into southern Israel.
The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries suffered, whether those hurt are Muslim, Christian, Druze or Jew. However, this current conflict is not about disputed territories or kidnappings or the failed peace process. This is about the only democracy in the Middle East defending itself against unrepentant and relentless terrorists. Hamas is an internationally recognized terror organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. In the eyes of Hamas, Tel Aviv is as much an illegally occupied settlement as anything east of Jerusalem.
Hamas will stop at nothing to destroy Israel, even if it means targeting Israeli schools and hospitals with their rockets, falsifying pictures for propaganda and using their own residents as human shields.
In stark contrast, Israel defends itself with a strategic and measured military operation involving multiple warnings prior to an aerial strike through phone calls, text alerts and thousands of leaflets. Despite the rockets and risk, Israel continues to coordinate hundreds of trucks of medical supplies, humanitarian aid, food and other goods through the border crossings between Gaza and Israel.
In short, Israel uses its military resources to protect civilians, while Hamas uses its civilians to protect its military resources.
The JCRC gratefully acknowledges the unwavering support that our Indiana Senators and Representatives show as they stand in solidarity with the State of Israel. Resolutions before Congress reaffirm our country’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself and call on Hamas to cease its attacks on Israeli civilians. Senators Coats and Donnelly are among the co-sponsors of the Senate Resolution, and the House Resolution passed unanimously with vocal support from Indiana’s Congressional delegation.
Israel has the right and obligation to defend its citizens from attack. “No country on Earth would remain passive in the face of hundreds of rockets fired on its cities,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “and Israel is no exception.”
Nor should anyone expect it to be.
Shelby Anderson, JCRC Board President
Greg Maurer, JCRC Israel Committee Co-Chair
Gadi Boukai, JCRC Israel Committee Co-Chair
To download a copy of this statement, click on the following: JCRC Statement re Protective Edge 7 17 14