Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Aipac on hamas December 31, 2008
SPECIAL REPORT: HAMAS' ASSAULT ON ISRAELIsrael Responds to Seven Years of Life Under Fire

Hamas Rockets Kill Four, Strike Schools in Beersheba

With Iran's Help, Hamas Upgraded Its Military Might

American Leaders Support Israel's Defensive Actions

Israel Transfers Aid to Gazans Despite Rocket Attacks

AIPAC Urges Support for Israel's Right to Self-Defense

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Click here to see why Israel is forced to defend its citizens from Hamas rockets.

Israel Responds to Seven Years of Life Under FireFor the past seven years, Hamas and other Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorist groups have fired thousands of rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians. And for seven years, Israel demonstrated extreme restraint in the face of these attacks. Last summer, Israel agreed to an Egyptian-mediated tahdiyeh, or period of calm, which Hamas used to strengthen its rocket arsenal rather than prepare for peace with the Jewish state. When Hamas terminated the tahdiyeh earlier this month and then dramatically increased its attacks, Israel was forced to defend its citizens. "Life in the south under missile barrages had become unbearable," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said over the weekend. "In such a situation we had no alternative but to respond." The overwhelming majority of Palestinians who died from Israeli strikes were Hamas members, according to U.N. data.
Hamas Rockets Kill Four, Strike Schools in BeershebaFour Israelis were killed and dozens more wounded this week as Hamas relentlessly pounded southern Israel with rockets and mortars, The Jerusalem Post reported. For the first time, two rockets landed in the major southern city of Beersheba on Tuesday, striking a kindergarten. Another rocket slammed into an empty Beersheba school on Wednesday. The Iranian-backed terrorist group has fired more than 100 rockets at southern Israel this week, striking homes, farms and factories in the cities of Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod—home to Israel's largest port. Three rockets also hit the city of Yavneh, just 12 miles from Tel Aviv and the northernmost point a Hamas rocket has hit to date. About 500,000 Israelis are now within range of Hamas rockets.
With Iran's Help, Hamas Upgraded Its Military MightHamas has worked tirelessly, with Iranian assistance, to improve its ability to attack Israel, according to analysis in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. In recent years, dozens of Gazans have traveled to training camps run by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. As a result, Hamas has successfully transitioned from a terrorist group to a more organized paramilitary organization. Hamas' rockets have improved dramatically in range and lethality from the new materials smuggled through tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt. Because Hamas began to bombard Israeli towns with rockets over the past two weeks, Israel decided that it could no longer tolerate the presence of a Hizballah-like paramilitary organization on its southern border and responded with force.
American Leaders Support Israel's Defensive ActionsAmerican leaders from the Bush administration, Congress, and President-elect Barack Obama's staff have voiced strong support for Israel's defensive actions in the Gaza Strip. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe called Hamas "nothing but thugs," while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added that the United States holds Hamas responsible for the renewal of violence in Gaza. David Axelrod, President-elect Obama's senior advisor, reiterated Obama's statement from his visit to Israel in July. While standing in Sderot, Obama said, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing." [view video] Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the United States "must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally." Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Republican whip, called Israel's response "justifiable and understandable." Click here to read more quotes from American leaders.
Israel Transfers Aid to Gazans Despite Rocket AttacksAs Israel targets Hamas terrorists in Gaza, the Jewish state is making every possible effort to avoid a humanitarian crisis in the coastal strip [view video]. An Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation met on Sunday with representatives of international aid organizations in order to ensure the entry into Gaza of critical items such as food and medical supplies. "We will see to the needs of the population in Gaza and will do our utmost to prevent a humanitarian crisis that will impinge upon residents' lives," said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Since last June, Israel has facilitated the transfer of 17,000 truckloads of goods into Gaza, according to Israeli government statistics. Israel also continues to supply some 70 percent of Gaza's electricity.
AIPAC Urges Support for Israel's Right to Self-DefenseIn a press statement, AIPAC urged Congress and the Administration to stand firmly with Israel as it strives to defend itself against a renewed assault by Hamas terrorists. "We applaud the bipartisan coalition of American leaders who have stood up in support of Israel's right to defend its citizens, a clear sign of the strong ties between the United States and Israel," said AIPAC President David Victor, adding that "AIPAC is outraged that the U.N. Security Council failed to recognize Israel's right to self-defense in its statement on Sunday, a right enshrined in the U.N.'s founding charter. Moving forward, we urge the administration to stand with Israel at the United Nations as it acts to defend itself in the face of continued violence from Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. It is important that we never equate Israeli defensive measures with Hamas terrorism."

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