Hamas Ends Ceasefire & Says:
Kidnap & Kill More Israelis
New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is supporting comments by Israels Strategic Affairs Minister, Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beitenu), that Hamas declaration that its so-called cease fire is over, coupled with an escalation of rocket attacks upon Israel from Gaza, means that the Olmert government policy of not responding to rocket fire from Gaza is a mistake and a strong response is necessary to protect Israelis and their property. Lieberman said that this policy of restraint is seen as weakness and that Israel must take immediate steps to secure the safety of residents in Sderot and other areas in southern Israel that are being regularly bombarded from Gaza. His words were echoed by Kadima MK Shai Hermesh, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Azza, who said that despite the governments promises, nothing had yet been done to fortify homes vulnerable to Qassem rocket attacks.
Earlier, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeideh told a Palestinian radio station that the volleys of Qassem rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel today were meant to be a clear message to the Zionist enemy. Obeideh also said Hamas was still holding Cpl. Gilad Schalit, and said that [Hamas was] ready to kidnap and kill more and more soldiers ( Jerusalem Post, April 24, 2007).
At least 12 Qassem rockets and 20 mortar rounds were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip today. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks and released a statement decrying Zionist crimes against [the Palestinian] people in Gaza and the West Bank — a reference to Israel having killed eight armed terrorists, including a team of five that had fired rockets targeting Israeli civilians.
Warnings of impending dangers to Israel from Gaza if current policy of restraint continues:
- Brigadier General Sami Turjeman, head of IDF operations directorate: In another few months, in the Gaza Strip we will have to deal with military capabilities of the terror organizations that we havent been familiar with until now, especially in the realm of anti-tank missiles ( Haaretz, December 26, 2006).
- Brigadier General Yossi Beidetz, head of IDF Military Intelligence research department: the threat from Gaza will be significantly greater a year from now because Hamas is using the cease-fire to strengthen its forces ( Haaretz, December 26, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, It is clear that when Israel does not react seriously to terrorist attacks, especially continuous ones, and takes only occasional action to disrupt the terrorist infrastructure, the terrorists grow bolder, have time to regroup and plan for the next terror offensive against Israeli civilians. All this conveys the message to the Palestinian terrorists that terrorism pays well. It is clear from their statements and plans that this is the lesson they have drawn from Israels recent actions.
Senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers have previously described as insufficient the Olmert governments policy of restraint and the limiting of responses in Gaza to targeting rocket crews and the like. Also, the distinguished British journalist, Melanie Phillips, has pointed out that the past five months of a supposed Palestinian Arab ceasefire has included the capture of would-be suicide bombers, thwarted car bomb attempts, shooting attacks, calls for further kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hamas and incessant rocket attacks on Israeli civilian areas. The IDF reported that they prevented 187 terrorist attacks in 2006. It is therefore clear that Israel has derived no benefit from a formal ceasefire and Israel must therefore use every legitimate means at its disposal to fight the terrorists and defeat them. Such a campaign is long overdue. In fact, former Prime Minister Sharon and former Ambassador to the U.S. Ayalon said that if, after the Gaza withdrawal, there is even a single missile fired from Gaza, Israel would use overwhelming force to prevent any future missile attack. We support Avigdor Liebermans efforts to bring about Israeli military before more Jewish lives are lost and maimed by terrorists.