Unfiltered Palestinian View of Israel’s 66th Independence Day

Teaching children to shoot all of the Jews

End of Hope (Hatikvka)

Transcripts follow the jump.

Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) program Tomorrow’s Pioneers – May 2, 2014

Nahul the bee: Listen my friend. Are there Jews where you are?
Boy (Qais): No. Not at the moment.
Nahul: I heard they come to you every day.
Qais: Yes, but not now.
Nahul: Listen, friend; do like this with your hands [makes fists], and when they come to you, punch them; make their face red like a tomato.
Qais: Allah willing, so that we can liberate Palestine.
Nahul: Allah willing….

Nahul: My friend Qais – anyway, Rawan, I tell him to take a stone, and when the Jews come, to take it and throw it at them.
Child host (Rawan): Of course, the Jewish neighbors.
Nahul: To smash them.
Rawan: If his neighbors are Jews or Zionists? Yes….

Rawan: Tulin, why do you want to be a police officer? Like who?
Girl Tulin: Like my uncle.
Rawan: Which uncle?
Tulin: Ahmed.
Rawan: Is he a policeman? [Tulin nods]
Rawan: OK, so what does a policeman do?
Nahul: He catches thieves, and people who make trouble.
Rawan: And shoots Jews. Right?
Tulin: Yes.
Rawan: You want to be like him? [Girl nods] Allah willing, when you grow up.
Tulin: So that I can shoot Jews. [Nahul the bee cheers]
Rawan: All of them? All of them?
Tulin: Yes.
Rawan: Good.

“End of Hope”

Hamas celebration of Israel’s 66th Independence Day – same old genocidal threats against Jews.

Transcript:

The Zionist army was built of wax
And now it has melted and has no hope.
The bastard Jews that were once here,
Somebody tell what is left of them.
Two parts: the first will be deported
To their country of origin, if they choose that.
Whereas the stupid ones who persist in staying
Their fate is sealed underneath the dust.
The name of the holy city will revert to what it was,
Our capital – Bayt al-Maqdis – not Jerusalem.

What Does Hamas-PLO Unity Mean?‏


PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas, left, and leader of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mashal.

— by Steve Sheffey

Israel suspended peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) last week following reports that the PLO intended to form a unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization that refuses to recognize Israel.

The Obama administration, AIPAC and many lawmakers highlighted the dangers of the PLO’s path. And yet, others noted that a unity government could present new opportunities for reaching a two-state solution.

But it has not happened yet, and we do not know if it will. Similar attempts have failed before. Also, we do not know what the terms will be if it does happen, and whether Hamas will change any of its positions.

More after the jump.
According to a PLO fact sheet released on Friday, under the reconciliation agreement with Hamas, the “PLO will continue negotiating a peace agreement with Israel, supporting non-violence to end the occupation and upholding previous agreements signed with Israel. The interim government will adhere to those commitments and the PLO’s political agenda.”

If that is true, then this arrangement could bring us closer to peace. Indeed, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said on Saturday that the unity government will recognize Israel, reject violence, and recognize the legitimacy of international agreements.

Can we rely on Abbas’s word? I would not. But I would wait for his assurances to be proven false before taking action.

Some lawmakers have already threatened to cut off funding for the PA because Hamas a is terrorist group, and it is illegal for the U.S. to provide funds to terrorist-designated groups. But the State Department argues that until we get more information, we will not know whether the law requires the U.S. to cut off funds.

If you are not familiar with Hamas, read its charter (covenant), especially Article 7, which calls on Muslims to kill Jews, and Article 13, which says that “so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote in his website, “Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.”

Abu Mazen has formed an alliance with an organization whose covenant calls for Muslims to fight and kill Jews. Hamas has fired more than 10,000 missiles and rockets at Israeli territory and has not halted terrorist actions against Israel even for a minute.

The agreement between Abu Mazen and Hamas was signed even as Israel is making efforts to advance the negotiations with the Palestinians. It is the direct continuation of the Palestinians’ refusal to advance the negotiations. Only last month Abu Mazen rejected the framework principles proposed by the United States. Abu Mazen has refused to even discuss recognizing Israel as the national state of the Jewish People. He violated existing agreements by unilaterally applying to accede to international treaties and then formed an alliance with Hamas.

Whoever chooses the terrorism of Hamas does not want peace.

The Obama administration backed Israel. Last week the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said that “it’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist” and that “Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties.”

The George W. Bush administration pressured Israel into allowing Hamas to participate in the 2006 Gaza elections, thus conferring on Hamas a legitimacy it could not have otherwise achieved, and rescinded $289.5 million in loan guarantees for Israel as punishment for what Bush considered illegal settlement activity. But the Obama administration has never pressured Israel to act contrary to what Israel perceives as its best interests.

AIPAC said that, “The announced formation of a Hamas-Fatah unity government represents a direct affront to Secretary of State John Kerry and a severe blow to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.”

Hamas is an Islamist terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s destruction and attacks innocent civilians. Any Palestinian government that includes Hamas cannot be a negotiating partner unless it meets longstanding Quartet demands ensconced in U.S. law: recognize Israel, reject violence, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

Yet, a Hamas-PLO agreement could lead to peace. In his column in Haaretz, Barak Ravid noted that “it was Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and their colleagues in the cabinet who argued that Abbas doesn’t really represent the Palestinian people and no progress could be made so long as the PA didn’t control Gaza.”

The reconciliation agreement, if implemented, could provide a response to exactly these arguments by creating a government that represents all the Palestinians.

The reconciliation agreement is also an opportunity because Hamas’ serious problems might force the organization to change direction, as happened with Yasser Arafat and the PLO after the 1991 Gulf War. The unity deal calls for Hamas to join the PLO and accept its principles — which includes the recognition of Israel and acceptance of the Oslo Accords and the Road Map. The significance of this agreement is also that for first time, Hamas seems willing to give up some of its grip on the Gaza Strip in favor of a unity government.

Implementation of the agreement will also mean elections for president and the Palestinian parliament, which have not taken place for years. Given the precarious condition of the Hamas in Palestinian public opinion, especially in the Gaza Strip, new elections will almost certainly decrease its political power. New elections will also renew Abbas’ mandate — or bestow greater public legitimacy on whoever might be elected in his stead — making the Palestinian leader a stronger, more stable and more reliable partner for Israel.

And to those who say Israel cannot negotiate with Hamas, Ravid reminded that Netanyahu “reached at least two written agreements with the Gaza terror group; one in the 2011 deal in return for the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, and the second confirming the cease-fire that ended Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.”

But can and will Hamas change its stripes? In his blog in The Forward, J.J. Goldberg explained that, “It’s highly unlikely that Hamas will agree between now and the end of the year to tear up its founding platform and formally embrace the principle of a Palestine partitioned into two states for two peoples.”

Militant religious movements don’t jettison their catechisms that fast. It is quite possible, however, that Abbas and his Fatah negotiators could obtain Hamas agreement to accept domestic portfolios in a unity government while Fatah holds the foreign affairs and security slots and handles peace negotiations with Israel. Some Hamas leaders have suggested such an arrangement in the past, with the understanding that if the negotiations produce an agreement and it’s approved in a Palestinian referendum, Hamas will accept the public’s will and live with it without endorsing it.

It’s not such a hard arrangement to understand. After all, Netanyahu heads up an Israeli government that hasn’t approved the two-state principle he himself says he embraces. Indeed, two of his coalition’s four parties, including Naftali Bennet’s HaBayit HaYehudi-Jewish Home party and Bibi’s own Likud, are formally, flatly opposed to Palestinian statehood. Put differently, they haven’t recognized the Palestinians or their right to a state. Bibi’s made it clear that he considers himself mandated to conduct negotiations toward a goal that his own party and a majority of his coalition oppose. If he’s as serious about peace as he says he is, he ought to be able to accept a Palestinian negotiating partner that operates under the same rules he does.

Can Bibi seize this opportunity? In Bloomberg, Jeff Goldberg made some good points:

Israel doesn’t get to pick its enemies. It has to make peace with the ones it has. Hamas is one of those enemies. And Netanyahu’s argument doesn’t take into consideration that, theoretically at least, the Palestinian Authority could, over time, help moderate Hamas and bring it more into the two-state fold.

But who am I kidding? Maybe both of Netanyahu’s superficially contradictory beliefs are true. Maybe he can’t make peace with a divided Palestinian entity. And maybe he can’t make peace with a unified Palestinian entity. Maybe he can’t make peace with any Palestinian entity because members of his own political coalition are uninterested in taking the steps necessary for compromise.

I hope Jeff Goldberg’s second paragraph is wrong, but Israel gets to elect its leaders, and Israel, not the U.S., will have to live, or die, with the risks it makes for peace and the chances they choose not to take.

We in the U.S. should not pressure Israel to act against its perceived interests. Rather, we should do all we can to bring the parties together and create an environment conducive to progress, recognizing, as President Obama does, that only the parties to the conflict can solve the conflict.

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Hamas Bulldozes World Heritage Site for Terrorist Training Camp‏


Previously-destroyed houses in the area

In an urgent letter sent today to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, UN Watch demanded immediate action to stop the Hamas bulldozing of a 3000-year-old Gaza harbor for use as a terrorist training camp, as reported today by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse. A copy was also sent to European Union foreign minister Catherine Ashton calling on the EU to take action.

The partial destruction of the ancient Anthedon Harbor — which includes the ruins of a Roman temple and archaeological remains from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras-comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

Full letter after the jump.
UN Watch, an independent Geneva-based monitoring group, called on Bokova to bring the issue before the UNESCO executive board now meeting in Paris.

Although the biannual UNESCO meeting, which runs until April 26, lists five agenda items concerning Palestinian issues — which US Ambassador Killion has described as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel” — there is currently no scheduled discussion to address the month-long Hamas bulldozing of the proposed heritage site. UN Watch’s letter as sent today to Ms. Bokova and Lady Ashton follows below:

Dear Ms. Bokova,

UN Watch is alarmed by the reported destruction by Hamas of parts of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in Gaza for use as a terrorist training camp. We urge you to bring the matter immediately before the UNESCO Executive Board, currently meeting at its 191st session in Paris, for protective action.

We note the tragic irony that this destruction by the rulers of Gaza comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

As you must know, earlier last month, despite criticism from nongovernmental organizations, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas bulldozed a part of the Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea, according to yesterday’s report by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse.

Hamas damaged the harbor in order to expand its “military training” zone, which was initially opened on the location in 2002, according to your own UNESCO representative in Gaza, Yousef al-Ejla.

That the UNESCO executive has so far failed to place the Hamas destruction and cynical abuse of this site on its agenda underscores the tragic politicization and diversion of the agency’s mission to protect world culture and heritage.

According the current UNESCO session timetable, there are in fact four agenda items dedicated exclusively to Palestinian issues: Items 9, 10, 34, and 35, while Item 5 includes a fifth report on this issue. Israel is the only country in the world that is targeted for specific criticism in this session.

Previous UNESCO resolutions on these five items were rightly described by US Ambassador David Killion as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel.” The extreme politicization even prompted Russia to successfully oppose discussion of these items, despite vehement Palestinian opposition, at the previous 190th session in October.

UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a member state in 2011, which caused the organization to lose almost a quarter of its budget when the US suspended its contributions, was justified as a measure to help protect world heritage sites in Palestinian areas. Yet as Hamas turns a cultural heritage site into a terrorist training ground-the antithesis of culture-the silence of UNESCO now places the very credibility of the organization at stake.

Sincerely,

Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director

Netanyahu and Obama are in a similar bind

US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are both in the midst of fruitless negotiations for basically the same reason.

Obama is negotiating with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff while Netanyahu is negotiating with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The President offered Boehner huge concessions reducing stimulus spending from $425B to $175B, abandoning extension of the payroll tax holiday and slashing entitlement spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) by $725B in order to obtain a modest 2% increase in taxes for the wealthiest 0.7% of Americans which he could have obtained automatically simply by waiting for New Year’s. Boehner and Obama seemed close to an agreement and much was made of the fact that neither was willing to bridge the (relatively) small gap that remained between them.

However, in the end the inability to come to agreement with Boehner was probably irrelevant since Obama was negotiating with someone who did not have to power to deliver the votes. Boehner was unable to get enough votes to pass his own so-called “Plan B” which would have raised taxes on the poorest Americans by up to $1500 by eliminating the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit while simultaneously permitting tax rates to rise for 400,000 extremely wealthy families. Boehner’s failure Thursday night to win support for his plan from the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party forced him to shutter Congress for the holidays  without avoiding the “fiscal cliff.”

Similarly, one Israeli government after another is having difficulty bringing Abbas to the negotiating table let alone coming to a peace agreement with him despite a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, economic support for the Palestinian Authority and other concessions. However, this failure is almost irrelevant since the Palestinian Authority is not really controlled by its nominal figurehead Abbas in Ramallah, but rather by Hamas in Gaza.

So why does Netanyahu waste his time talking to Abbas when it is clear that the leadership of Hamas holds all the cards?

The problem is that Hamas is a terrorist organization which by its very charter defines itself as devoted to the complete destruction of the State of Israel. By choosing essentially civilian targets and terror tactics, Hamas holds itself outside the rules of conventional warfare and maintains its status as a pariah organization with whom negotiation is anathema.

Similarly, the Tea Party has shown itself time and time again willing to hold the economy of the country hostage to its own interests. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution says that our national debt “shall not be questioned.” Unlike Greece, our debt is in our own sovereign currency. If worse came to worst, our lenders should know that we can always simply print what we owe them, so they could consider United States Bonds to be completely risk-free and charge us the lowest rate available. However, by playing a game of “chicken” with the debt ceiling, the Tea Party puts the entire solvency of our country needlessly into doubt.

Now with the fiscal cliff, Grover Norquist and his Tea Party allies are unwilling to bend on the smallest tax increase for the wealthiest Americans in order to avoid across the board tax increases and automatic budget cuts will would certainly put our economic recover into jeopardy.  

Since Netanyahu and Obama’s real opponents (Hamas and the Tea Party) are intractable ideologues with whom there is no hope of negotiating, Netanyahu and Obama persist in hoping that negotiating with figureheads (Abbas and Boehner) will give their negotiating partners the “street-cred” necessary to make a deal.

Well, good luck with that!

Why Should This Ceasefire By Any Different?

— by Noam Bedein

‘Cease Fires’ between Israel and Hamas:
6 years of a record of non compliance

Since the last day of Operation Cast Lead (January 18, 2009) until the 1st day of Operation Pillar of Defense, the Gaza Hamas regime launched 2,000 aerial attacks against Israel. That was the third ‘ceasefire’ between Israel and Hamas.

There is talk about ‘an opportunity to reach an understanding with Hamas,’ relying on the notion that Israel must ‘give Hamas a chance for a ceasefire with Israel.’ How many people remember two failed ‘ceasefires’ were reached with the Gaza Hamas regime over the past 6 years? How many people remember what occurred during those ceasefires? The people of Sderot and the western Negev remember all too well.

First Ceasefire

Let us refresh our memories. From November 26, 2006, until May 15, 2007, the first “ceasefire” between Hamas and Israel lasted for six months. Here is the statement made by Hamas five days before agreeing to that ceasefire: “Hamas’s military wing will stop rocket fire when residents evacuate the city of Sderot.” (from November 21, 2006)

During that “ceasefire,” the Gaza Hamas regime launched 315 attacks on Sderot and the western Negev. There was no IDF response to those attacks during that “ceasefire.”

More after the jump.
Second Ceasefire

The second “ceasefire” took place from June 19, 2008 (1 year after the Hamas military took control of the Gaza strip) until December 19, 2008. During those six months of “we cease they fire,”, the Gaza Hamas regime launched 530 attacks on Israel.

2008 was the most intense year of the decade; the entire western Negev region was under constant rocket fire, with approximately 3,200 aerial attacks on Israel.

Three days before the end of 2008, the IDF military launched “Operation Cast Lead” to stop the attacks from the Gaza Hamas regime.

One question needs to be asked: What nation in the world would allow a one-sided “ceasefire?” What other nation would allow for one missile to explode within its territory, let alone allowing an entity to now place the majority of its population under the threat of a missile attack?

It is worthy to note that Israel’s adversaries do not advocate a “ceasefire;” they promote a hudna. A hudna means no more than a temporary respite in the war between Islamic forces and non-Islamic forces. The authoritative Islamic Encyclopedia (London, 1922) defines hudna as a “temporary treaty” which can be approved or abrogated by Islamic religious leaders, depending on whether or not it serves the interests of Islam; with the proviso that a hudna cannot last for more than 10 years.

What is the alternative? A demand of unconditional surrender from an enemy bent on Israel’s destruction.

Noam Bedein is a photojournalist, lecturer and founder/director of Sderot Media Center. He lives approximately two miles away from the Gaza-Israel border in the Israeli city of Sderot.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Announcement of Ceasefire

Remarks

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
  • Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr

November 21, 2012
Presidential Palace, Cairo, Egypt

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) We welcome our guests.  Yes.  We’ll begin with a talk from Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Her Excellency Minister Clinton will address the press.

More after the jump.

FOREIGN MINISTER AMR:  (Via interpreter) Thank you.  A press release, under the auspices of His Excellency President Mohamed Morsi and stemming from Egypt’s historic responsibility towards the Palestinian cause and Egypt’s keenness to stop the bloodshed and preserving the stability of the conditions and security in the region, Egypt has exerted efforts and conducted intensive discussions since the renewed outbreak of hostilities in the Gaza Strip with all parties:  the Palestinian leadership, the various resistance factions, the Israeli side, and the international community, most notably the United States of America.

These efforts and communications managed to reach an agreement to a ceasefire and the return of calm and halt of the violence and the bloodshed that was witnessed recently.

The ceasefire is set to start at 9 p.m. Cairo time today, Wednesday, 21st of November 2012.  Egypt affirms its commitment to the Palestinian cause and the need to achieve a comprehensive and just resolution.  The Government of Egypt will continue its efforts to achieve this noble objective through ongoing attempts to end the divisions between the various Palestinian factions and to assist them in achieving Palestinian national unity on the basis of genuine Palestinian values and interests.

Egypt appreciates the role of the Arab League, the valuable contributions of Turkey and Qatar, and those of the Secretary General of the United Nations to support the efforts of the Government of Egypt to end the violence.  At the same time, Egypt calls upon the international community to be engaged in monitoring the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered agreement and to ensure all parties adhere to these agreements.  The agreement will be distributed to you after this conference.

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Amr.  I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence.  This is a critical moment for the region.  Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace.  The United States welcomes the agreement today for a ceasefire in Gaza.  For it to hold, the rocket attacks must end, a broader calm return.

The people of this region deserve the chance to live free from fear and violence, and today’s agreement is a step in the right direction that we should build on.  Now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity, and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike.  President Morsi and I discussed how the United States and Egypt can work together to support the next steps in that process.  In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners across the region to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, and provide security for the people of Israel.  Ultimately, every step must move us toward a comprehensive peace for all the people of the region.

As I discussed today with President Morsi, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, there is no substitute for a just and lasting peace.  Now that there is a ceasefire, I am looking forward to working with the Foreign Minister and others to move this process.  Thank you very much, Foreign Minister.

Hamas Instructions To Human Shields

This afternoon, the IDF dropped leaflets over the Gaza Strip, warning civilians to stay away from Hamas operatives and infrastructure.

The first leaflet:

To the residents of Sheikh Ajlin, Tel Al-Hwa, Rimal South, Zeitoun, Sjaiya, Turkeman and Sajiya Jadida: For your safety, you are required to evacuate your residences immediately and move towards the central Gaza city, via Al-Khara, Jma’at Al Dul Al Arabia, Al Aqsa Al Qudsiya, Um Alaimoun, Salah A-din, Al-Maqsurra, Hal’s Mjdad. In the central Gaza city, you are required to stay between the areas of Salah A-din from the west, Amar Al-Muchtar from the north, Al-Nasser from the east and Al-Quds St. from the south.

The second leaflet:

To the residents of of the outskirts of Shati, Al-Atatra, Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun: for your safety, you are required to evacuate your residences immediately and move  towards central Gaza city via Al-Falujah, Al-Udda and Salah A-din. In the central Gaza city, you are required to stay between the roads of Salah A-din from the west, Amar Al-Muchtar from the north, Al-Nasser from the east and Al-Quds St. from the south.

A short while ago, the Hamas interior ministry spokesman was interviewed on Al-Quds Radio in Gaza and urged his listeners to ignore the IDF warnings. IDF intelligence was listening to the broadcast and relayed the following transcript:

Question: As the bombings go on, I want to address a specific issue: People have been receiving text messages urging them to evacuate their houses…

Hamas Interior Ministry Spokesperson: This is all part of the psychological warfare held by the Zionist enemy… So by using this way of communication, our public radio, I address all our Palestinian brothers by saying: Please do not listen to the orders noted on these text messages, their only purpose is spreading fear and panic within our people.

The IDF does everything it can to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Hamas uses civilians as human shields.

Special Report: Israel and Gaza

— by Steve Sheffey

Hamas terrorists have fired thousands of rockets into Israel from Gaza. What is remarkable is not the Israeli response, but the Israeli restraint in the face of aggression no other country would be expected to tolerate.

The pro-peace and progressive communities must speak out forcefully in support of Israel. A two-state solution is impossible as long as Hamas terrorism continues.

President Obama has backed Israel in this latest crisis. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) condemned Hamas and issued a statement unequivocally supporting Israel’s right to self-defense. Congressman-elect Brad Schneider (D-IL) also issued a strong statement condemning Hamas’s attacks on Israel and supporting Israel’s right to self-defense.

The US Senate and House unanimously approved a resolution supporting Israel on November 15. For this to happen in two days with everything else on the Congressional agenda is a remarkable display of US support for Israel. AIPAC praised President Obama’s strong support for Israel as well as strong support from both parties in Congress.

Since his re-election, President Obama has spoken out against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN, reiterated his firm commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and forcefully condemned Hamas while supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. So much for Republican claims that President Obama would be less supportive of Israel in his second term.

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More after the jump.
Israel is doing what it has to do. As Israeli President Shimon Peres said, “Those who preach to us about morality should offer an alternative way to stop the rocket fire from Hamas.”

Hamas terrorists have fired over 12,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel during the past 12 years. Hamas  has fired over 800 rockets  into Israel since the beginning of the year, over 120 in the week before Israel began Operation Pillar of Defense, and hundreds more since then. No country would tolerate this terror for as long as Israel has. No country should have to tolerate even one rocket, let alone 12,000. Millions of  Israelis are within rocket range and have only 15 seconds from the time the sirens sound to run to a shelter.

President Obama told Prime Minister Netanyahu “that he understands and supports Israel’s right to self-defense in light of countless rocket attacks on Israeli civilians being launched from Gaza.” And yesterday, the White House defended Israel and blamed Hamas for the the escalation in violence, saying that “Israelis have endured far too much of a threat from these rockets for far too long.”

On November 14, UN Ambassador from the United States Susan Rice said that

“There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu is right:

I want to remind you that, seven years ago, Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza. Now, Hamas took over the areas we vacated. What did it do? Rather than build a better future for the residents of Gaza, the Hamas leadership, backed by Iran, turned Gaza into a terrorist stronghold. They fired thousand of rockets at our cities, at our towns, at our civilians, at our children. They’ve smuggled thousands of rockets and missiles into Gaza, and they deliberately place these rockets and missiles in civilian areas: in homes, in schools, near hospitals. This year alone, they fired over one thousand rockets and missiles at Israel, including close to 200 rockets in the last 24 hours.

I’m stressing this because it’s important to understand one simple point. There is no moral symmetry; there is no moral equivalence, between Israel and the terrorist organizations in Gaza. The terrorists are committing a double war crime. They fire at Israeli civilians, and they hide behind Palestinian civilians. And, by contrast, Israel takes every measure to avoid civilian casualties. I saw today a picture of a bleeding Israeli baby. This picture says it all: Hamas deliberately targets our children, and they deliberately place their rockets next to their children. Despite this reality – and it’s a very difficult reality – Israel will continue to do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties.

Israel’s response was neither excessive nor disproportionate. What would a proportionate response be? Firing a missile into civilian areas of Gaza every time Hamas fires a rocket into civilian areas of Israel? There is no moral equivalency or “cycle of violence” here. Hamas fires rockets into civilian areas to terrorize Israel. Israel attempts to end the rocket fire by targeting those who are doing the shooting. Since Hamas deliberately operates from civilian areas, some loss of innocent life is inevitable, no matter how hard Israel tries to avoid it. To compare Israel’s deliberate, surgical killing of Hamas terror chief Ahmed Jabari with Hamas’s deliberate targeting of civilians is itself immoral. Hamas brought this on itself and its people.

We will also hear that more Gazans than Israelis were killed in the recent fighting. This is partly because the Iron Dome batteries the Obama administration provided have intercepted some of the missiles, partly because Israelis are trained to find shelter as quickly as possible, and partly because even though Israel targets military sites, Hamas places the military sites in civilian areas.

Palestinians in Gaza are suffering terribly from Israeli air strikes. The death of any innocent person is tragic. This latest round of fighting will result in more suffering and dying within Gaza. It will also breed more hatred toward Israel. No one should be happy about it. The problem is that Israel has no choice. The UN is not pressuring Hamas to stop the terror. The Arab countries are not pressuring Hamas to stop the terror. Israel had to act to stop the terror, and while Palestinian suffering is undeniable, the blame rests solely with Hamas, not Israel. How much force should Israel use? Enough to stop the rockets, whatever that might take.

If the Arabs were really concerned about their Palestinian brethren, instead of running to the UN to condemn Israel, they would have already run to the UN to condemn Hamas for its terrorist rocket strikes.  Instead of financing Hamas, they would cut off financing for Hamas and try to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. They would realize that the goal of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security can only be achieved by showing the Israeli public that a two-state solution can work. How can the Israeli public be expected to support a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) after this? Most Israelis understand that a two-state solution is the only solution that will allow Israel to remain democratic and Jewish, but they also understand that any solution must allow Israelis to stay alive. Hamas is making the case that ceding the West Bank could be national suicide.

As Susan Rice said on November 14,

“Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination and independence.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said on November 15 that “Hamas’s ongoing use of indiscriminate violence against Israeli is harmful to the cause of Palestinian statehood and dangerous to the Palestinian people in Gaza.  Its oppressive regime has caused immense suffering.” Read all of Rep. Schakowsky’s condemnation of Hamas and unequivocal support of Israel’s right to defend itself here.

The pro-peace community in the United States must speak out forcefully against Hamas and in support of Israel’s right to self-defense. Now is not the time to tell Israel to exercise restraint or to remind Israel that military action alone cannot solve the problem, as if Israel does not already know that. Now is the time to acknowledge that those of us living thousands of miles away from Israel, in peace and safety, are not in a better position than Israel to determine how best to protect their families and loved ones. Instead, the pro-peace community should focus its efforts on rallying world-wide condemnation of Hamas and their terrorist allies.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, in an article titled A Call to US Progressive Jews: Support Israel’s ‘get tough’ policies in Gaza, wrote that

if progressive American Jews ask me why Israel can’t just muddle through, my answer is this: Israel came into being so that Jewish children would never again have to huddle together in fear, terrorized by enemies of the Jewish people, while their parents stood by helplessly. Helping those children is a progressive cause. And doing nothing for them undermines the sovereignty of the Jewish state and strikes a fatal blow at the very raison d’etre of Zionism.

See this a one-minute video showing a mother’s perspective on the affect of rockets on children.

To achieve peace, the Palestinians must start preparing their own people to accept the reality and legitimacy of a permanent Jewish state of Israel. They must also prove to Israel that it can cede land to the Palestinians without fear of creating yet another launching pad for attacks on Israel.  Israel will have to make painful concessions to accommodate yet another Arab state in the Middle East, including relinquishing sovereignty over areas of the West Bank that have been Jewish for centuries. That’s hard enough, but worth it for real peace. But to expect Israel to make those sacrifices when it is understandably concerned that its neighbors still seek its destruction and are willing to terrorize Israel with rocket fire is unrealistic and unreasonable.

Israel’s quarrel is not with the Arab Palestinian people, but with the Iran-backed Hamas terrorists who run Gaza. Indeed, Israel has endorsed a two-state solution and consistently proposed peaceful solutions, even willingness to trade land won in defensive wars for a promise of peace, only to be rebuffed again and again by intransigent Arab Palestinian leadership.

But even as Israel strives for peace with its Arab neighbors, it cannot be expected to forsake the primary duty of any state: to protect the safety and security of its citizens. We would expect no less from our government if our children were subjected to daily rocket attacks at home and at school. Israelis in southern Israel have only seconds of warning to race to the nearest bomb shelter, and if kids are in different rooms, that means a split-second decision regarding which kid to grab and which kid to hope makes it to the shelter on her own. No government can permit its citizens to live that way. Read more about what it’s like here.

Since his re-election, President Obama has spoken out against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN, has again stated that “we’re not going to let Iran get a nuclear weapon,” and has forcefully condemned Hamas and unequivocally supported Israel’s right to defend itself in Gaza. So much for Republican claims that the “real” Obama would abandon Israel in his second term. The real President Obama is who we saw last week and who we’ve seen for the past four years. We have a friend in the White House. Republicans who are sincerely concerned about Israel should be relieved. Republicans who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes, though, better start worrying.

The US Congress also stands behind Israel. On November 15, the United States Senate sent an overwhelming message of solidarity with Israel, passing by unanimous consent a resolution introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) that very same day. This bipartisan resolution, with 62 Senators as co-sponsors joining Gillibrand and Kirk, expressed firm support for Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.” On November 16, the House passed unanimously passed an identical resolution, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA). Click here to read the resolution.

For statements from other elected officials, including Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), click here. Congressman-elect Brad Schneider issued a statement condemning rocket fire from Hamas and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, noting that he has personally visited many of the Israeli communities now under fire.

AIPAC on Thursday praised the Obama administration’s strong support for Israel’s self-defense, as well as the strong support members of Congress from both parties have given Israel amid the Gaza fighting. Read more here.

Israel Begins “Pillar of Defense” In Response To Hamas Attacks From Gaza

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – In the last week alone, Hamas, a terrorist organization, has launched 150 rockets at Israel’s south. Currently, 15% of Israel’s population is currently under a terrorist attack.

Israel cannot tolerate the escalation of rocket fire aimed at its citizens.

To impair the terrorist infrastructure, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded with targeted strikes against those responsible.

The Israel Air Force (IAF) seriously impacted Hamas’s long-range missile capabilities and underground weapons storage facilities. The IAF has acted restrained and surgical in its response to the Hamas missile escalations, and has not targeted the long-range missiles stored in mosques, schools, and hospitals. Hamas, conversely, is deliberately firing at Israeli civilian population centers, including schools, hospitals and houses of worship.

More after the jump.  
Hamas rockets fired at Israeli civilians in the past have had a range of up to 25 miles. Today, the IDF targeted the Fajr-5, which has a range of nearly 40 miles, putting three million Israelis within terrorist missile range. This additional range encompasses the major metropolitan area of Tel Aviv.

As part of Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel eliminated Ahmed al-Jabri, the head of the Hamas military wing, who joined Hamas in 1995 and rose to a senior leadership position in 2004. He was directly involved in numerous terrorist attacks against Israel, including the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

“We are sending an unequivocal message that our citizens will not be hostage to terrorist missile fire and cross-border attacks,” Ambassador Michael Oren said. “The scope of the IDF’s defensive operation depends on Hamas and whether it takes the decision to cease firing missiles on our neighborhoods and homes. Israel has the right and duty to defend itself from terrorist attacks designed to kill thousands of its citizens.”

Consul General to the Mid-Atlantic Region in Philadelphia, Mr. Yaron Sideman commented, “We are not acting in a vacuum. In the past 24 hours, Israel has endured 120 missiles fired indiscriminately at our nation. In the past year, over 800 missiles were fired. In 2009, over 2500 missiles were fired at our citizens. Israel showed much restraint to numerous attacks. “