Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Poll shows gap between Republicans and Democrats in backing Israel in Gaza

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Poll shows gap between Republicans and Democrats in backing Israel in Gaza

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

A CNN poll showed a considerable gap between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to backing Israel in the current Gaza conflict.

In the CNN poll published Monday, respondents were asked whether “Israel was justified or unjustified in taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in the area known as Gaza.” Among Democrats, 40 percent said Israel was “justified,” compared to 74 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents.

In all, 57 percent of those polled said Israel was justified in launching the operation in the Gaza Strip.The poll, carried out by ORC International in 1,023 phone interviews from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points….READ MORE

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Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Cairo talks fail to yield cease-fire agreement, expected to continue

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Cairo talks fail to yield cease-fire agreement, expected to continue

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 20, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/ GPO/Flash90)

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 20, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/ GPO/Flash90)

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Makoto Otsuka, director general of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, Japan, with visiting schoolchildren in front of a photo of Anne Frank.–>

Talks between Israel and Hamas negotiated by Egypt have not produced a cease-fire.

The talks in Cairo are expected to stretch into Wednesday, a Hamas official reportedly said late Tuesday night.

A Hamas official had been quoted earlier on Tuesday by Reuters as saying that a cease-fire would go into effect at midnight.

Shortly after the Reuters report appeared Tuesday evening, Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that an agreement on a cease-fire had not yet been reached….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu & UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Statements Before Their Meeting About Negotiating a Cease-fire

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statements by PM Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Prime Minister Netanyahu:  Mr. Secretary, welcome to Jerusalem.  You’re always a welcome guest, and I appreciate both your coming here and your statement.  I want to thank you for making it clear that Israel has the right to defend itself.  I want to thank you for your consistent statements condemning the rocket attacks on Israel’s citizens.

I know you’re very concerned about the civilian casualties on both sides.  Well, we share your concern, and that is why, in fighting terror, our military always tries to avoid civilian casualties.  In fact, I’m not sure that there is another military on Earth that goes to such great lengths to keep innocents out of harm’s way.  Israel is, I think, remarkable in that, when you consider the conditions that we’re facing, I think that something almost without parallel in history is taking place.  We’re conducting these surgical operations against terrorists at a time when our own population is being bombarded by rocket attacks.

Unfortunately, Mr. Secretary, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups, do not share your concern about our civilian casualties or about civilian casualties at all.  They’re deliberately and indiscriminately targeting our civilians and they deliberately hide behind their civilians.  The terrorists target our children and they use their own children as human shields.  They place explosives, weapons, other destructive weapons of any kind in schools, mosques, hospitals, universities.  Targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians, as you well know is a double war crime.  If we hope to make these tactics illegitimate, they should be condemned in the most forceful terms by all responsible members of the international community.  The moment we draw symmetry between the victims of terror and the unintended casualties that result from legitimate military action against the terrorists, the minute that false symmetry is drawn, the terrorists win.

I know, Mr. Secretary, that you understand this, and I am confident, as always, that you will continue to lend your moral authority to the struggle against terrorism.  Mr. Secretary, no country would tolerate rocket attacks against its cities and against its civilians.  Israel cannot tolerate such attacks.  If a long-term solution can be put in place through diplomatic means, than Israel would be a willing partner to such a solution.  But if stronger military action proves necessary to stop the constant barrage of rockets, Israel will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our people.

I look forward to our discussions today, and I hope we can advance a peaceful resolution.

Secretary Ban:  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.  Shalom, ladies and gentlemen.  Todah.

Again, I’d like to thank the Prime Minister for welcoming me to Israel at this time.  Regrettably, I’m back again in the region only nine months since my last visit because of violence in Israel and Gaza, this again requiring our attention, not progressing towards a lasting peace and a two-state solution.  But all this we are truly concerned at the rising loss of human lives.  A further escalation would be dangerous and tragic for Palestinians and Israelis, and would put the entire region at risk.  I’m here to appeal to all to hold fire and restore calm.

Rockets have hit areas just outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Israeli towns near Gaza, killing and injuring civilians.  I myself visited Sderot and these cities, and met many people, and I was able to witness myself how these people were living in fear and terror.  This is unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless.  I strongly condemn these actions.  Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel must cease immediately.  I know how desperate the situation is here, but Israel must exercise maximum restraint.  I strongly caution against a ground operation which will only result in further tragedy.  I have also stressed that while Israeli rockets may be aimed at military targets inside Gaza, they kill and injure civilians and damage civilian infrastructures.  The loss of civilian lives is unacceptable under any circumstances.  The excessive use of force is unlawful and must be rejected, and I take note of your statement that this military operation was aimed against only military facilities, but still in the course of military operations, the civilians are actually victimized, as we have seen.

My paramount immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians, in Israel and in Gaza.  Innocent people, including children, are being killed and injured on both sides.  I appeal to all and those commanding, bearing and operating arms, weapons, to respect international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.  I was here under similar circumstances in early 2009.  It is truly painful for me to be back for the same reason.  This new cycle of bloodshed will make neither Israelis nor Palestinians more secure, nor will bloodshed open the door to negotiations that could achieve a two-state solution necessary to end such violence permanently.  Further escalation benefits no one.  I and all my staff, including Special Coordinator Robert Serry, will spare no effort to put an end to violence and provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it.

Over the past week, Mr. Prime Minister, I have spoken with many international leaders and regional leaders by telephone and in person.  I have come here directly from Cairo, where I met with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil earlier today.  Egypt is a leader in the region, and I was encouraged that the Egyptian authorities are using their contacts on all sides to seek an immediate ceasefire.  I’ve also met Foreign Minister Leiberman and Defense Minister Barak this afternoon since arriving in Jerusalem.  I will be meeting President Peres after our meeting with you this evening, and Palestinian President Abbas tomorrow morning.  I’m here to offer my help and good offices to end the violence and find a path back towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.  The world is watching and waiting.  We have not a moment to lose.

Again, Mr. Prime Minister, I count on your strong leadership while working together with the United Nations for peace and stability and human rights in this region.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu & US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Remarks / Speech Before Their Meeting to Negotiate a Cease-fire

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Remarks With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Their Meeting

Source: State.gov, 11-20-12

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Prime Minister’s Office
Jerusalem
November 20, 2012

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:I want to welcome Secretary Clinton once again to Jerusalem. I want to thank President Obama, you, and the American Government and people for their strong support for Israel in this hour of need. I want to also thank you especially for your support of Iron Dome that’s been saving lives, and we are in a battle to save lives.One of the things that we’re doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage which is aimed directly at our civilians, and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians.

Now, if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I am sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. This is something that I don’t have to explain to Americans. I know that President Obama, you, and the American people understand that perfectly well.

And I thank you once again for your support. Welcome to Jerusalem.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Prime Minister. I look forward to a productive discussion this evening at such a critical moment for Israel and the region. President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.

The rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside Gaza on Israeli cities and towns must end and a broader calm restored. The goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

President Obama has emphasized these same points in his multiple conversations with President Morsi of Egypt, and we appreciate President Morsi’s personal leadership and Egypt’s efforts thus far. As a regional leader and neighbor, Egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process. I will carry this message to Cairo tomorrow. I will also be consulting with President Abbas in Ramallah.

Let me also say, to echo the Prime Minister, I am very pleased that the Iron Dome defense system is performing so well. Our partnership in support of this system represents America’s enduring commitment to the safety and security of the Israeli people and to Israel’s right to defend itself.

But no defense is perfect and our hearts break for the loss of every civilian – Israeli and Palestinian – and for all those who have been wounded or who are living in fear and danger. I know today was a difficult day, and I offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who were lost and injured. In the end, there is no substitute for security and for a just and lasting peace, and the current crisis certainly focuses us on the urgency of this broader goal.

So in the days ahead, the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza, and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region. And I thank you, Prime Minister, for your hospitality and look forward to our discussion.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you.

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Israeli soldier & civilian killed as rockets pound Southern Israel & Jerusalem on seventh day

Israeli soldier, civilian killed as rockets pound Israel for seventh day

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

The Western Wall in Jerusalem is empty of worshipers during an air raid siren indicating a rocket attack from Gaza, Nov. 20, 2012.  (TheKotel.org)
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The Western Wall in Jerusalem is empty of worshipers during an air raid siren indicating a rocket attack from Gaza, Nov. 20, 2012. (TheKotel.org)

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Makoto Otsuka, director general of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, Japan, with visiting schoolchildren in front of a photo of Anne Frank.

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An Israeli soldier and an Israeli civilian were killed in separate rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip….

More than 140 rockets were fired at southern Israel in the seventh day since the beginning of the operation, including two aimed at Jerusalem. Some 56,000 military reservists have been called up since the beginning of the operation.

An air raid siren sounded in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon; two rockets fell in the Gush Etzion area south of the city. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets aimed at Jerusalem….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Rockets pound Israel for seventh day

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Rockets pound Israel for seventh day

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

More than 80 rockets were fired at southern Israel in the seventh day since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, including two aimed at Jerusalem….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scheduled to arrive in Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Clinton scheduled to arrive in Israel

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will arrive in Israel to discuss plans for a ceasefire. Read more »

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