Talking points on the situation between Israel and Hamas

Since Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in August 2005, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza have fired more than 6,300 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians, killing 10 and wounding more than 780. In 2008 alone, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired almost 3,000 rockets and mortars at Israel, killing five people and wounding more than 270. Since the end of the so-called cease-fire on Dec. 19 more than 170 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza.

French demonstrators hold signs equating Israel with Nazis and accusing the Jewish state of genocide and war crimes at an anti-Israel rally in Paris on Jan. 3. | Photo: Deborah Lauter

More than 750,000 Israelis, including 100,000 children, live within range of Hamas’ rockets and mortars.
Hamas is supported financially and otherwise by Iran and the rockets fired at Israel from Gaza are part of the ongoing aggression against Israel by Iran, which of course also threatens Israel from the north through its proxy Hezbollah.
In the meantime, Hamas has held hostage, in violation of all applicable international laws, Gilad Shalit. He was abducted by Hamas in a bloody raid on June 25, 2006, and has been the only Israeli in Gaza since. Hamas has permitted no contact with its hostage for nearly three years.
This past weekend, after unsuccessfully attempting for weeks to re-establish some semblance of a cease-fire with Hamas, Israel began a military operation to destroy Hamas’ ability to launch rockets, to destroy its ability to smuggle weapons and to destroy its infrastructure of terror operations.
An Israeli soldier prepares to cross the border into the Gaza Strip on Jan. 3. | Photo: Israel Defense Forces

As you undoubtedly know, this war against Hamas is being fought on two fronts — in Gaza and in the world’s media. Please remember that there is no independent source of information from within Gaza. The entire area and every aspect of public authority are under the complete control of Hamas, a ruthless, totalitarian government. Information from sources within Gaza, for example, about the impact of Israel’s attacks and civilian deaths is highly questionable.
Israel’s response and proportionality
We deplore the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians. But Hamas knows full well that its terrorist activities will provoke a response, as they would by any nation. The Israel Defense Forces have demonstrated to Hamas that Israel cannot allow its citizens to live out their lives in bomb shelters, with children in southern cities unable to attend school and their parents unable to work.
Terrorists must not be allowed to use innocent women, children and elderly as human shields for Hamas terrorists firing at Israelis. Hamas makes no effort to comply with international law. The Geneva Convention states clearly that if a missile launcher or weapons stockpile is placed among a civilian population, the responsibility for civilian causalities lies with the party that deliberately put the civilians at risk.
When innocent civilians become victims, it is a profound tragedy. Israel is deeply committed to exercising its right of self-defense in a limited and responsible manner. Israel is not attacking the Palestinian people; it is attacking Hamas infrastructure and terrorist installations to bring an end to the attacks on Israeli citizens, Christians, Jews, Muslims and others.
Humanitarian crisis and aid
Israel has continued to supply fuel, food, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, despite Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians. During the past six months, Israel has facilitated more than 14,624 truckloads of humanitarian assistance including more than 185,000 tons of supplies and 39 million liters of fuel. There have been more than 4,130 medical evacuations.
On Dec. 28 alone, Israelis shipped four truckloads of flour, three truckloads of medicine and medical equipment and one truckload of heating gas. Israel facilitated the shipment of 15 more truckloads from the United Nations relief program, World Food Program and Red Cross. Another 38 truckloads were transferred at the Kerem Shalom Crossing including more medicine, medical equipment, food, 1,000 units of blood and 10 ambulances.
While Israel makes every effort to avert a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, the world must not forget the humanitarian crisis happening in southern Israel as a result of terrorism. The towns of Sderot and Ashkelon have been pounded by a barrage of Kassam rockets aimed at civilians. Preschools, homes and bus stops have been incessantly targeted. When the alarm goes off, civilians have 15 seconds to find cover. Think about what you would do if you were in the shower. What do you do when you have children to protect? Think about the life the residents of Israel’s southern cities are forced to lead.
Israel seeks peace
We are deeply concerned about the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians. We want peace and an end to suffering on both sides. The way to achieve this is to have the terrorists lay down their weapons, recognize Israel and negotiate a two state solution. Israel is committed to a two-state solution — two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace and security. Israel has demonstrated that it will embrace any genuine opportunity to achieve peace with its neighbors.
Please feel free to pass these talking points from the Dallas JCRC on to your constituency, associates and friends.
JCRC urges against participation in rallies
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is aware of a number of Palestinian rallies taking place. These rallies, which began Dec. 30 and are continuing through this week in Dallas, are to support the Palestinian cause in Gaza. Similar rallies are taking place throughout the country and are also being monitored by the JCRCs in each community.
The Dallas JCRC is monitoring the developments of these rallies in our community and will keep the community informed in a timely manner.
Please note that in accordance with conversations with the highest level of Israeli officials and with the concurrence of the JCRC Executive Committee, there is no Jewish representation at these rallies nor at counter-demonstrations. Such demonstrations have the potential of creating a moral equivalency to the issue and place our Jewish community and our institutions in potential harm.
Therefore, once again, the organized Jewish community of Dallas is not ­counter-protesting at any of the Palestinian rallies during the week.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has distributed this information as a special e-mail in an effort to keep the Dallas Jewish community informed on the ongoing situation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Resources for further information
During this crisis, please take time to educate yourself about what has led to this conflict and what Israel is doing to stop Hamas. Here are some resources for your consideration:
Jewish Council for Public Affairs:
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The Israel Project:
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
Anti-Defamation League:
What you can do
Continue to monitor the situation and keep yourself apprised on the developments of this issue.
United States support for Israel is imperative. Please contact your senators and representatives in Congress asking for their continued support and assistance. For contact information for your elected officials, please go to and input your ZIP code under “My Elected Officials” located on the left side of the home page.
Continue to monitor local and national media sources and advocate on behalf of Israel to the media through well-reasoned phone calls and letters to the editor.

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