Israel Political Brief August 10, 2014: Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour cease-fire

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Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour cease-fire

Source: JTA, 8-10-14

Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, agreed to a new 72-hour cease-fire…. READ MORE▸

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 10, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting promising Israel will not to negotiate under fire

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting

10 Aug 2014

Source: MFA, 8-10-14

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Operation Protective Edge will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of quiet for a long period.

Israel Cabinet meeting 

Israel Cabinet meeting

Copyright: GPO

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 10 August 2014), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:”Operation Protective Edge is continuing. At no stage did we declare its conclusion. The operation will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of quiet for a long period. I said at the outset of, and throughout, the operation that it would take time and patience. Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens. We will stand together, united and determined, until we complete the work.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 6, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu holds press conference in Operation Protective Edge

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PM Netanyahu holds press conference

06 Aug 2014
Source: MFA, 8-6-14

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Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians, and Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza’s general demilitarization.

PM Netanyahu press conference

 

PM Netanyahu press conference

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement and answers to questions at his press conference for the foreign press on Wednesday evening, 6 August:

“The rectangle that you see in the center is the UNRWA’s Shahada al-Manar elementary school for boys.

That’s the thing that you see there in reddish color and you see right around that four mortars fires. Five mortars are fired. One mortar fired. One mortar fired. Right around that school. It’s very important to see that and to understand what kind of conditions our forces are facing from Gaza.

Palestinian terrorists fired 11 mortars from the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Zeitoun, Gaza

Here’s a terror tunnel near a school:

Tunnel entrance hidden in Gaza City neighborhood

You see the big building to the right of the arrows? That’s a school. You see civilian houses in a distance of a few meters, a mosque literally touching the school, civilian houses around it. This is where the terror tunnels are dug, and may I say that in many places the terror tunnels were dug from homes. From homes. From inside the homes. So, that is an example again of the use of civilian areas both to fire rockets at our civilians and to dig the terror tunnels for the death squads to reach our people, kidnap and kill them.

I expect, now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza, or some of them are leaving Gaza, and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidations, I expect we’ll see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.

The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians. That means to protect our people from roughly 3,500 rockets, three thousand five hundred rockets that Hamas and the other terrorist groups have fired on our cities, on our towns, on our civilians, on our children in the last month. The goal of this operation was to protect our people from the threat of terror tunnels built to send death squads into Israel, to commit terrorist atrocities against Israel’s civilians, to kidnap and to kill.

Israel deeply regrets every civilian casualty, every single one. We do not target them; we do not seek them. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas; our enemy are the other terrorist organizations trying to kill our people. And we’ve taken extraordinary circumstances and measures to avoid civilian casualties. The tragedy of Gaza is that it is ruled by Hamas – a tyrannical and fanatical terror group that relishes civilian casualties. They want civilian casualties. They use them as PR fodder. So it’s not that they don’t want them; they want them. And they pretty much say so. Indeed Hamas has adopted a strategy that abuses and sacrifices Gaza’s civilians. They use them as human shields; they endanger them and deliberately increase the death toll. They fire their rockets at Israel from schools, from hospitals, from mosques. You’ve just seen that. From urban neighborhoods, and right next to schools where journalists are staying. You can discover that for yourself.

Of course nearly everyone says that they support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we appreciate those who say this. But there are those who refuse to recognize or to let Israel exercise that right. They would allow Hamas to attack with impunity, because they say they’re firing from schools or from mosques or from hospitals and Israel should not take action against them. That’s obviously a mistake. It’s a moral mistake. It’s an operational mistake. Because that would validate and legitimize Hamas’s use of human shields, and it would hand an enormous victory to terrorists everywhere and a devastating effect to the free societies that are fighting terrorism.

If this were to happen, more and more civilians will die around the world, because this is a testing period now. Can a terrorist organization fire thousands of rockets at cities of a democracy? Can a terrorist organization embed itself in civilian areas? Can it dig terror tunnels from civilian areas? Can it do so with impunity because it counts on the victimized country to respond as it must, as any country would, and then be blamed for it? Can we accept a situation in which the terrorists would be exonerated and the victims accused?

This is the issue that stands not only before the international community today regarding Israel; it stands before the international community with a wave of radical terrorists that are now seizing vast cities, civilian populations and doing exactly the tactic that Hamas is doing. That’s exactly what ISIL is doing, what Hezbollah is doing, what Boko Haram is doing. What Hamas is doing is what is al-Qaeda is doing. And the test now is not merely the test for the international community’s attitude towards Israel – an embattled democracy using legitimate means against these double war crimes of targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians. The test is for the civilized world itself, how it is able to defend itself.

Israel accepted and Hamas rejected the Egyptian ceasefire proposal of July 15th. Now I want you to know that at that time, the conflict had claimed some 185 lives. Only on Monday night did Hamas finally agree to that very same proposal, which went into effect yesterday morning. That means that 90%, a full 90% of the fatalities in this conflict could have been avoided had Hamas not rejected then the ceasefire that it accepts now.

Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians, and Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza’s general demilitarization. That is the sure way to guarantee that this conflict will not repeat itself. And I’m very glad that Secretary Kerry and others have put forward the need to demilitarize Gaza. This is a long-standing Palestinian obligation yet to be fulfilled. Setting anew this long-term goal is important for Israel, it’s important for the people of Gaza and for all of us who want to see an end to the violence and an end to the suffering.

Every civilian casualty is a tragedy. A tragedy of Hamas’s own working. I think the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel put it best when he said, “Hamas is engaging in child sacrifice. And this is something for which it must be held accountable. For the sake of all our children, it must not be allowed to get away with this.”

Question: “[Inaudible] I wanted to ask: You mentioned the Israeli [inaudible]. That was before the ground operation, before the tunnels [inaudible] and I wanted to ask, will you therefore, if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire at that stage, the tunnels would not have been dealt with and I wanted to ask therefore, people are asking, was it a strategic goal, was it the goal of this operation, was Israel kind of improvising, was there a strategic plan here or were you [inaudible].

And a second question if I may, we’ve seen since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdair, since the West Bank operations, since the Gaza operation, they are rioting, attacks [inaudible] violence in Jerusalem, riots in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and I just wondered if there is concern at the spread of the violence [inaudible].”

PM Netanyahu: “Thank you. We started dealing with the tunnels – first of all, we were going to deal with the threats posed from Gaza either by military means or by diplomatic means – one of the two or both. We began dealing with the first tunnel before the Egyptian initiative. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but we had information about an impending attack from one terror tunnel and we took action before we had the air attacks on our, before we had the air attacks on Gaza in response to their rocketing attacks. We actually dealt with one tunnel.

If we could have dealt with the rest of the tunnels through the Egyptian proposal, which had an immediate ceasefire as we have now, and both sides could raise the topics and specifically the issue of security would be released. That was mentioned there. When we said security, we meant obviously that we would bring up the question of the tunnels: could we deal with it through non-military means and the other threat against Israel – and that’s preferable. As it turned out, Hamas rejected this and therefore we had to deal with them in military means. So we addressed the other tunnels, in addition to the one we had already addressed with military means by doing the, by actually going in.

That first tunnel was struck from the air. We didn’t know that it achieved the result and it’s very hard to achieve that result from the air. You either achieve it by agreement or you achieve it by actually going in to the other side, finding the points of origin of the tunnel or a point of origin, identify the trajectory of the tunnel and then dismantling it, destroying it through various means. And that’s basically what we did. If we could have done it diplomatically, fine. If not, we did it militarily and the army just told us that they completed this activity and then we went out. We went in to deal with the tunnels; we went out after we finished dealing with the tunnels.

[Regarding the Jerusalem question] Well, obviously we’re concerned. We hope that everyone, everyone will work now to calm the situation. That has been our goal from the very beginning in Jerusalem, everywhere, in the Palestinian areas. We don’t need to see loss of life there anymore than we want to see it on the Gaza front. I want to make sure that – you mentioned the Temple Mount – so I want to make sure that everyone understands that Israel respects and will continue to respect the status quo on the Temple Mount. We know that there are arrangements there, including the traditional role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and we are not about to change it.”

CNN: “Prime Minister, [unclear] for CNN. First of all, the IDF has suffered the largest casualties yet in any Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We understand 61 soldiers killed, three civilians. We’ve seen more than 1,800 people killed in Gaza, 900 or almost 1,000 of which are civilians, estimated. Do you really feel that your actions, Israel’s actions were proportionate? And were you using the appropriate precision weapons even if Hamas is using them as human shields?”

PM Netanyahu: “Why don’t you ask the first question? Let me answer that, then you can ask the second question. Why don’t we do that? So first of all, the answer to both your questions is yes, I think it was justified, I think it was proportional and that doesn’t in any way take away from the deep regret for, we have for the loss of a single civilian. We’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they have civilian casualties, as you’ve just seen.

Now, let’s imagine your country – it could be any country, could be the US, could be Britain, could be Germany, France, India, you name it. Let’s imagine your country attacked by 3,500 rockets. Your territory is infiltrated by death squads. What would you do? What would you demand that your government do to protect you and your family? You’d demand that and you’d be right because security, protecting the people, is the first obligation of any government. But what if the rockets are fired from civilian areas? And the tunnels come from schools, from mosques, from private houses where civilians live? Should you then not take action?

Do the terrorists have immunity because of the fear that some civilians will unfortunately get hurt?

Let me tell you what I think disproportionality is: It’s not acting to defend your people and giving the terrorists a license to kill. I think that’s disproportionate and that’s wrong.

Financial Times: “Thanks very much. Mr. Prime Minister, are you prepared to give Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority a leading role in the post-war order in Gaza? And if so, can you talk about that, specifics, including policing the borders?”

PM Netanyahu: “We have cooperated and are cooperating with the Palestinian Authority on matters that you raised. There are other matters as well, and the answer is that we are cooperating with them and are prepared to see a role for them.

Q: [Inaudible]

PM Netanyahu: “We’re dealing with that right now. I think it’s important in the reconstruction of Gaza, in assuring the humanitarian aid and also the security questions that arise, that we have these discussions and the cooperation with them. And in fact, the ceasefire was coordinated, among other things, with them. It came from Egypt, but they were aware of it and they were speaking to, for the factions, as you know.

As far as the humanitarian aid, since I mentioned it: You know, we’ve given 2,000, we’ve passed roughly 2,000 trucks of humanitarian aid during the last month or so in which this conflict raged. We even gave humanitarian aid – most of these trucks came during the fire. A lot of them came during the ceasefire, the humanitarian ceasefire that Hamas refused to recognize for its own people. It’s quite amazing. We have to do the ceasefire, the humanitarian ceasefire efforts when Hamas doesn’t do it so we even sometimes, many times actually, unilaterally called ceasefire humanitarian pauses, which they didn’t recognize, but we put in the trucks.

We opened a field hospital right on the Gaza passage, in the Erez Crossing on our side, and we called Palestinians who have a problem with hospitals that were being used by Hamas as terrorist sites, as command centers, as firing posts, and we said, okay, we’ll open a field hospital and we did on our side. And you know what Hamas did? It prevented and warned Palestinians not to go there. Well some of them straggled through somehow and we dealt with them. And we are now dealing with our people to address the fuel, throughout the conflict, fuel, electricity stoppages and so on.

So Israel is going all out on humanitarian effort, and we’re prepared to do more and we think more should be done. We just hope that Hamas will start caring for its people and stop preventing humanitarian aid for them, stop sacrificing them as human shields, stop shooting them when they protest because that’s what happens when people protest and they say to Hamas, “What have you done to us?” Well, they just execute them. Just as they prevent journalists from putting out the full truth and journalists, justifiably are concerned. I can understand that.

And Hamas, Hamas does incredible things, just incredible things. There is a report – it’s not my report, it’s the Journal of Palestinian Studies in 2012. Note the year. It’s a few years ago and they’ve since, they’ve done more things. Hamas officials, according to the Journal of Palestinian Studies, reported that at least 160 children had been killed digging the tunnels. There is something fundamentally wrong here. Hamas is sacrificing its people, sacrificing its children and it should not be allowed to get away with it. These are tragedies. The loss of a single child is a tragedy. The loss of mothers, women, families, is a tragedy. But this tragedy should be put squarely where the responsibility for it belongs. The responsibility for this tragedy belongs with Hamas. It’s a deliberate strategy.”

Washington Post: “Mr. Prime Minister, you mentioned Secretary Kerry’s comments supporting demilitarization of Gaza. I’m wondering if you also support what he said about the need to think bigger now, to use the Cairo talks as an opportunity to think more broadly about a two-state solution and if so, what will Israel do to move in that direction?”

PM Netanyahu: “First of all, I had a very good conversation with John, with Secretary Kerry today. We work very closely with him and with the US Administration, with President Obama, throughout this operation and before. And there are reports of the substance and the tone of our relationship that are distorted. They don’t capture the essence of the common values that bind our societies together and bind our governments together. And I appreciate the support that the United States has shown for Israel’s right to self-defense and the appropriation that I asked for, for an additional 225 million dollars of support for Iron Dome. I think these are all very important things for which the people of Israel are deeply grateful and I want to express that.

I think the Secretary’s statement on demilitarization as a strategic long-term goal is very important. I think he’s right that there are opportunities now, perhaps opportunities that we have not seen before with a realignment of important parties in the Middle East to be able to fashion a new reality, one more conducive to the end of violence, to the establishment of calm, a sustainable peace or at least a sustainable quiet which can lead to other things. That is yet to be seen, but that is a goal I think worthy of exploration and pursuit. That’s my goal.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu holds security discussion at IDF Southern Command

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PM Netanyahu holds security discussion at IDF Southern Command

Source: MFA, 8-4-14

04 Aug 2014

This operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period. We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza. In practice, it is Hamas that is attacking them and denying them humanitarian aid.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 4 August 2014), made the following remarks at the conclusion of a discussion at IDF Southern Command headquarters, with the participation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman:

“The campaign in Gaza is continuing. What is about to conclude is the IDF action to deal with the tunnels but this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period. We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza. In practice, it is Hamas that is attacking them and denying them humanitarian aid. I think that the international community needs to strongly condemn Hamas and also demand, just as we are demanding, that the rehabilitation of Gaza be linked to its demilitarization.

I would like to express special appreciation for the Defense Minister, the Chief-of-Staff, GOC Southern Command, our heroic soldiers and commanders, and also the ISA, which has been assisting them. There has been very strong teamwork here the goal of which is to bring security to the citizens of Israel and the State of Israel.

I express deep appreciation to all of our soldiers for their fighting spirit under difficult conditions, in urban areas with tunnels. There are many stories of heroism here. I am impressed by the effort and by the operations in the field.

I would like to congratulate the commanders and soldiers on what they have achieved. I visited with wounded soldiers in Be’er Sheva today. I wish them a quick recovery; they have tremendous spirit. Along with the Defense Minister, the Chief-of-Staff and all of Israel, I would like to again send my condolences to the families of the fallen.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 2, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Operation Protective Edge

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Statement by PM Netanyahu

02 Aug 2014

Source: MFA, 8-2-14

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At the start of the operation we promised that we would restore quiet for the citizens of Israel and we will continue to act until this goal is achieved. We are enlisting the international community to support this goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tonight (Saturday, 2 August 2014), made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

Operation Protective Edge is continuing. The IDF is continuing to operate with full strength in order to complete the goals of the operation: The restoration of quiet and the restoration of security for a lengthy period for the citizens of Israel while inflicting significant damage on the terrorist infrastructures.

At the same time, our forces are now completing the work of striking at and neutralizing the terrorist tunnels in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of tunnels have been neutralized so far. We are striking at the strategic network that Hamas has invested such great effort in over the years. These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.

So far the IDF has very significant achievements in the fighting. At the onset of the operation, our forces attacked and destroyed thousands of terrorist targets: Command centers, rocket arsenals and production facilities, launching areas, many hundreds of terrorists, etc.

Our soldiers are showing extraordinary heroism. Their bravery has been shown in the IDF’s very impressive and daring operations. This has been a complex operation, which is being carried out in urban areas, in tunnels, with new kinds of munitions, amidst considerable friction with a civilian population. I am proud of our soldiers and commanders who are working splendidly in this dangerous campaign. They are fighting with dedication, determination and a sense of mission that is without peer.

I share the pain of the bereaved families and I send them both my condolences and those of the nation. They sacrificed what is most dear to them. Their sons fell in order to defend our country and our home. My heart and the heart of the entire nation goes out to all of them. I talk to them and I know their pain.

I would like to express support to the family of 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was abducted yesterday. I understand the family; their words have touched my heart and I will speak with them later this evening. The State of Israel will continue to do its utmost to bring home its MIAs.

Citizens of Israel, the resilience that you are showing enables all of us to conduct the campaign sagaciously and responsibly in order to achieve the goals of the operation. I thank you for the unity, especially at this time.

Cooperation between me and the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff is tight and enables us to precisely plan and carry out the campaign. At the start of the operation we promised that we would restore quiet for the citizens of Israel and we will continue to act until this goal is achieved. This will take as much time as may be necessary; forces will be used accordingly.

US and European support of the need to demilitarize the terrorist organizations is an important achievement for the State of Israel. It will strengthen our demand to link the rehabilitation and development of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarization from rockets, tunnels, etc. We regret every civilian who is hit inadvertently.

We are enlisting the international community to support this goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization but no less important – this may surprise many, but not us – is the unique link which has been forged with the states of the region. This as well is a very important asset for the State of Israel. With the cessation of the fighting and the conclusion of the campaign, this will open new possibilities for us.

At this time it is clear what is happening here. Hamas wants the residents of Gaza to suffer and be hurt and thinks that the world will blame Israel for their suffering. There are many people in the world who understand exactly what Hamas is, the same organization that, together with Qatar, assured US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding a ceasefire. It misled both of them.

I welcome the clear and sharp statements by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, who placed the direct responsibility for violating the ceasefire on Hamas, and for President Obama’s remarks last night regarding Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets and tunnels. Similar voices have been heard from other important leaders around the world.

But, unfortunately, there are other voices and to them I say: Terrorism has no borders. Today, it threatens the State of Israel. Tomorrow, it will threaten your countries. We are doing what we are doing in the face of this criminal aggression by the terrorist organizations against our citizens and soldiers, but what would you do? Will you stand alongside Israel, a democratic and moral state which is acting to defend its citizens or will you continue to stand opposed and take a forgiving stand in the face of a murderous terrorist organization that attacks our people and is brutal toward its own?

Citizens of Israel, the IDF is acting and will continue to act until our mission is completed. After completing action the tunnels, the IDF will prepare for continued action, according to security needs and only according to security needs, until we achieve the goal of restoring quiet to you, citizens of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 28, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on Operation Protective Edge Ground Operation Clearing Terrorist Tunnels

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Statement by PM Netanyahu

Source: MFA, 7-28-14

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We will not complete the operation without neutralizing the tunnels, the sole purpose of which is the destruction of our civilians and the killing of our children. This is the clear and unequivocal objective of the State of Israel.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

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(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Monday, 28 July 2014), at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, issued the following statement:

“First, I would like to share in the grief of the families whose dear ones have fallen. They have fallen in defense of the nation and we all mourn their passing. There is no more just war than this one that our heroic sons are fighting. I would like to support the soldiers of the IDF who, even now, are continuing to operate inside the Gaza Strip against our enemies.

We knew that there would be difficult days; this has been a difficult and painful day. Patience and determination are needed in order to continue the struggle against a murderous terrorist organization that aspires to our destruction. We are, at present, continuing to take action to neutralize and strike at the terrorist tunnels. We will not complete the mission, we will not complete the operation, without neutralizing the tunnels, the sole purpose of which is the destruction of our civilians and the killing of our children. This is the clear and unequivocal objective of the State of Israel and the need for it has been apparent again today.

The operation against the tunnels is a first and necessary step in the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. The process of preventing the arming of the terrorist organization and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip must be part of any solution. The international community needs to demand this explicitly. Instead of the international community allowing funds to enter the Gaza Strip, via Hamas, for concrete and cement to serve in the unlimited construction of tunnels, there must be monitoring and supervision. In the past, when we raised these demands and these concerns of ours, we were not taken seriously. This has to change. It cannot be that citizens of the State of Israel will live under the deadly threats of missiles and infiltration through tunnels – death from above and death from below.

Hamas has violated every ceasefire proposal. We face a cruel enemy whose brutality is directed not only against us, against our civilians, but is also directed against his own civilians. It exploits their civilians in order for there to be more and more victims even as they send fire and death toward us.”

Israel Brief April 30, 2013: Israeli airstrike kills senior Palestinian terrorist in Gaza

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Israeli airstrike kills senior Palestinian terrorist in Gaza

Source: JTA, 4-30-13

An Israeli airstrike killed a senior Palestinian terrorist in northern Gaza….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 28, 2013: Israel’s Air Force hits Gaza sites after rocket attack

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Israel’s Air Force hits Gaza sites after rocket attack

Source: JTA, 4-28-13

Israel’s Air Force bombed a terrorist training base in Gaza hours after a rocket from the coastal strip struck near a community in southern Israel….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 7, 2013: Gaza rocket fired at Israel, no wounded: police

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Gaza rocket fired at Israel, no wounded: police

Source: The Daily Star, 4-7-13

A rocket fired from Gaza crashed into southern Israel on Sunday, without causing casualties or damage, shortly after the arrival of US Secretary of State John Kelly on a peace bid, police said….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 4, 2013: Rockets fired on Southern Israel from Gaza for third day

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Rockets fired on Israel from Gaza for third day

Source: JTA, 4-4-13

A rocket fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, the third consecutive day that rockets have been fired at Israel from the coastal strip….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 4, 2013: Rockets barrage launched toward southern Israel for 3rd consecutive day

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Rockets barrage launched toward southern Israel for 3rd consecutive day

Source: Nzweek, 4-4-13

For the third day in a row, a rockets barrage of three mortar shells was launched by militants in the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel Thursday morning, the IDF confirmed….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 4, 2013: Israeli military fires on Syria, Gaza after rocket attack incidents

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Israeli military fires on Syria, Gaza after rocket incidents

Source: JTA, 4-3-13

Israeli retaliatory airstrikes hit what the country’s military called “two extensive terror sites” in the northern Gaza Strip….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 2, 2013: Rocket fired from Gaza at Southern Israel as second rocket discovered in Sderot preschool

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Rocket fired from Gaza at Israel as second rocket discovered in Sderot preschool

Source: JTA, 4-2-13

A mortar rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel, while a partially exploded Kassam rocket was discovered in an Israeli preschool….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief February 12, 2013: Israel to allow Turkish construction material into Gaza

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Israel to allow Turkish construction material into Gaza

Source: JTA, 2-12-13

Israel has agreed to allow Turkish trucks carrying construction materials into the Gaza Strip for the construction of a hospital….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 29, 2012: Israeli United Nations Ambassador Ron Prosor’s Speech to the UN General Assembly

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Ambassador Ron Prosor
Speech to the UN General Assembly, as Delivered
29 November 2012

Source: Embassies.gov.il, 11-29-12
Mr. President,

Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world’s one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people’s ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.

We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. We are a nation that values idealism, but acts with pragmatism. Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace.

Peace is a central value of Israeli society. The bible calls on us:
בקש שלום ורדפהו

“seek peace and pursue it.”

Peace fills our art and poetry. It is taught in our schools. It has been the goal of the Israeli people and every Israeli leader since Israel was re-established 64 years ago.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence states, “We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help…”

This week was the 35th anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem. In a speech just before that visit, President Sadat famously stood in the Egyptian parliament in Cairo and stated that he would go “to the ends of the earth” to make peace with Israel.
Israel’s Prime Minister at the time, Menachem Begin, welcomed President Sadat to Israel, and paved the way for peace. This morning Prime Minister Netanyahu stood at the Menachem Begin Center and said this about the resolution that you are about to vote on:

“Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected. The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.

None of these vital interests, these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today and that is why Israel cannot accept it. The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties and not through U.N. resolutions that completely ignore Israel’s vital security and national interests. And because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards.

As for the rights of Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today, no decision by the U.N. can break the 4000 year old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.”

Mr. President,

The People of Israel wait for a Palestinian leader that is willing to follow in the path of President Sadat. The world waits for President Abbas to speak the truth that peace can only be achieved through negotiations by recognizing Israel as a Jewish State. It waits for him to tell them that peace must also address Israel’s security needs and end the conflict once and for all.

For as long as President Abbas prefers symbolism over reality, as long as he prefers to travel to New York for UN resolutions, rather than travel to Jerusalem for genuine dialogue, any hope of peace will be out of reach.

Mr. President,

Israel has always extended its hand for peace and will always extend its hand for peace. When we faced an Arab leader who wanted peace, we made peace. That was the case with Egypt. That was the case with Jordan.

Time and again, we have sought peace with the Palestinians. Time and again, we have been met by rejection of our offers, denial of our rights, and terrorism targeting our citizens.

President Abbas described today’s proceedings as “historic”. But the only thing historic about his speech is how much it ignored history.

The truth is that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate into two states: a Jewish state, and an Arab state. Two states for two peoples.

Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and Arab nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the “Jews into the sea”.

The truth is that from 1948 until 1967, the West Bank was ruled by Jordan, and Gaza was ruled by Egypt. The Arab states did not lift a finger to create a Palestinian state. Instead they sought Israel’s destruction, and were joined by newly formed Palestinian terrorist organizations.

The truth is that at Camp David in 2000, and again at Annapolis in 2008, Israeli leaders made far-reaching offers for peace. Those offers were met by rejection, evasion, and even terrorism.

The truth is that to advance peace, in 2005 Israel dismantled entire communities and uprooted thousands of people from their homes in the Gaza Strip. And rather than use this opportunity to build a peaceful future, the Palestinians turned Gaza into an Iranian terror base, from which thousands of rockets were fired into Israeli cities. As we were reminded just last week, the area has been turned into a launching pad for rockets into Israeli cities, a haven for global terrorists, and an ammunition dump for Iranian weapons.

Time after time, the Palestinian leadership refused to accept responsibility. They refused to make the tough decisions for peace.

Israel remains committed to peace, but we will not establish another Iranian terror base in the heart of our country.

We need a peace that will ensure a secure future for Israel.

Three months ago, Israel’s Prime Minister stood in this very hall and extended his hand in peace to President Abbas. He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution of two-states for two-peoples

—where a demilitarized Palestinian state that will recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
That’s right. Two states for two peoples.

President Abbas, I did not hear you use the phrase “two states for two peoples” this afternoon. In fact, I have never heard you say the phrase “two states for two peoples”. Because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.

They have never been willing to accept what this very body recognized 65 years ago. Israel is the Jewish state.

In fact, today you asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state.

Not only do you not recognize the Jewish state, you are also trying to erase Jewish history. This year, you even tried to erase the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. You said that Jews were trying to alter the historic character of Jerusalem. You said that we are trying to “Judaize Jerusalem”.

President Abbas, the truth is that Jerusalem had a Jewish character long before most cities in the world had any character! Three thousand years ago King David ruled from Jerusalem and Jews have lived in Jerusalem ever since.

President Abbas, instead of revising history, it is time that you started making history by making peace with Israel.

Mr. President,

This resolution will not advance peace.

This resolution will not change the situation on the ground. It will not change the fact that the Palestinian Authority has no control over Gaza. That is forty percent of the territory he claims to represent!

President Abbas, you can’t even visit nearly half the territory of the state you claim to represent.
That territory is controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that rains missiles on Israel’s civilians. This is the same Hamas that fired more than 1,300 rockets into the heart of Israel’s major cities this month.

This resolution will not confer statehood on the Palestinian Authority, which clearly fails to meet the criteria for statehood.

This resolution will not enable the Palestinians Authority to join international treaties, organizations, or conferences as a state.

This resolution cannot serve as an acceptable terms of reference for peace negotiations with Israel. Because this resolution says nothing about Israel’s security needs. It does not call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. It does not demand an end of conflict and a termination of all claims.

Let me tell you what this resolution does do.

This resolution violates a fundamental binding commitment. This is a commitment that many of the states here today were themselves witness to. It was a commitment that all outstanding issues in the peace process would only be resolved in direct negotiations.

This resolution sends a message that the international community is willing to turn a blind eye to peace agreements. For the people of Israel, it raises a simple question: why continue to make painful sacrifices for peace, in exchange for pieces of paper that the other side will not honor?
It will make a negotiated peace settlement less likely, as Palestinians continue to harden their positions and place further obstacles and preconditions to negotiations and peace.
And unfortunately, it will raise expectations that cannot be met, which has always proven to be a recipe for conflict and instability.

There is only one route to Palestinian statehood. And that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah that will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions. As President Obama, said in 2010, “Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.”

The real message of this resolution for the people of Israel is that the international community will turn a blind eye to violations of these agreements by the Palestinians.
Mr. President,

In submitting this resolution, the Palestinian leadership is once again making the wrong choice.
65 years ago the Palestinians could have chosen to live side-by-side with the Jewish State of Israel. 65 years ago they could have chosen to accept the solution of two states for two peoples. They rejected it then, and they are rejecting it again today.

The international community should not encourage this rejection. It should not encourage the Palestinian leadership to drive forward recklessly with both feet pressing down on the gas, no hands on the wheel, and no eyes on the road.

Instead it should encourage the Palestinians to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions in order to achieve an historic peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state.

Mr. President,

Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it … ignorance may deride it … malice may distort it … but there it is.”

The truth is that Israel wants peace, and the Palestinians are avoiding peace.
Those who are supporting the resolution today are not advancing peace. They are undermining peace.
The UN was founded to advance the cause of peace. Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace. Don’t let history record that today the UN helped them along on their march of folly.
Thank you, Mr. President.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 28, 2012: Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor’s Wall Street Journal Op-ed: What Kind of Palestinian State?

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

What Kind of Palestinian State?

The U.N. should consider whether the world needs another nation that imports weapons and exports

Source: RON PROSOR, Wall Street Journal, 11-28-12

For more than a year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has attempted to bypass peace negotiations with Israel by unilaterally seeking state recognition at the United Nations. Instead of pulling him back from this cliff, this week the U.N.’s General Assembly may push him over the edge.

Many countries in the Assembly are taking an approach to Palestinian statehood that is far more Pavlovian than Washingtonian. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise. For decades, the body has rubber-stamped any Palestinian whim no matter how ill-advised, ill-conceived or illogical.

The time is right to break this habit. It doesn’t take an architect to recognize how poorly Palestinians have laid the foundations for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. U.N. members considering Palestinian statehood have a duty to inspect these foundations and ask: Exactly what kind of state are we voting for?

A state with no control over its territory. The Palestinian Authority has zero authority in Gaza today. Out of concern for his personal safety, President Abbas has not even seen this area with binoculars since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of it in a bloody coup. Demonstrating their affection for Mr. Abbas, Hamas threw members of his political party off 12-story rooftops. While members of the U.S. Congress visit their constituents on a weekly basis, President Abbas hasn’t laid eyes on almost half of the Palestinian population for six years.

A terrorist state. States recognized by the U.N. must pledge to be “peace-loving.” This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace and love in Gaza by firing more than 1,200 rockets into Israeli cities. The terrorist group has used every resource at its disposal to repress its own population or attack Israel’s. It has transformed Gaza into a haven for global jihadist organizations like al Qaeda. The family of nations does not need another member whose primary import is deadly weapons and whose chief exports are extremism, hatred and terror.

An undemocratic state. Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza, and Palestinian democracy in the West Bank is also far from Jeffersonian. President Abbas’s mandate to rule expired three years ago. He continues to personally extend it without elections or consultation from his people. Mr. Abbas may have a flexible view of his own term limits, but his ideas about freedom of speech are more rigid. Journalists, bloggers and activists continue to be jailed and tortured in the West Bank for crimes such as “extending their tongues against the Palestinian President.”

A bankrupt state. Palestinian Authority institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid, limping from crisis to crisis. Yet this year, as the PA threatened to delay payroll for many employees, it tripled payments to convicted terrorists. Today the PA devotes 6% of its annual budget to payments for imprisoned terrorists and the families of suicide bombers, and less than 1% to higher education. In mosques, schools and official media, the PA glorifies terror and promotes incitement against Israelis. Instead of using their budgets for nation-building, they use them for nation-sinking.

Before placing its seal of approval on a Palestinian non-state, the U.N. should consider the consequences. Virtual statehood might earn Mr. Abbas a better seat in the General Assembly, but it will not change anything on the ground. It would only raise expectations for the Palestinian people that cannot be met. In our very volatile region, the results could be tragic.

Israel is urging the Palestinian leadership to give up their destructive march of folly at the U.N. and work with us to forge constructive solutions at the negotiating table, which the PA leadership has avoided for years. The foundations for real Palestinian statehood and real peace can only be laid through hard work on the ground and direct talks with Israel.

When the foundations for lasting peace are in place, Israel will not be the last nation to welcome Palestinians to the U.N. We will be the first.

Mr. Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. 

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2012: Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated

Source: Xinhua, 11-22-12

An Israeli minister said Thursday that Hamas can expect an aggravated military response in the event that it or other militant groups in the Gaza Strip resume rocket attacks on Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2012: IDF reservists released after Gaza operation: ‘We’ll be back’

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

IDF reservists released after Gaza op: ‘We’ll be back’

 Source: YNet News, 11-22-12

הביתה. שמחה מהולה בתחושת החמצה (צילום: רועי עידן)

Soldiers recruited during Operation Pillar of Defense disappointed that IDF ‘didn’t get to finish the job’

The army began releasing on Thursday tens of thousands of reserve soldiers who were recruited under emergency orders during Operation Pillar of Defense.

Some of the soldiers were disappointed by the fact that the operation was cut short and they were not given the chance to “complete the mission,” as one soldier put it, while others said it is just a matter of time before they are called up again….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: 12 rockets fired on Israel since cease-fire truce takes effect

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

12 rockets fired on Israel since truce takes effect

Source: YNet News, 11-21-12 

Twelve rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel since 9 pm, when a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza was set to take effect.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Text of Ceasefire Agreement Between Israel & Hamas

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Text of Ceasefire Agreement

The partial text of the ceasefire agreement as reported by news agencies.
Source: INN, 11-21-12

This is the partial text of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, as brokered by Egypt and the U.S. and reported by AFP.

“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”

“Implementation mechanism.

“Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.

“Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

“Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

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