The Public Affairs Voice of the Jewish Community

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July 8, 2014

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) issued the following statement today expressing solidarity with Israel in defending itself against a barrage of rocket attacks from terrorist groups in Gaza:

"Practically since the day in August 2005 when Israel withdrew from Gaza and most certainly since the Hamas coup in June 2007, the population centers of southern Israel have been terrorized by thousands of mortars and missiles fired from Gaza. Forty percent of Israel’s population (3.5 million Israelis) is under threat of rocket fire from Gaza. That is equivalent to over 125 million Americans under deadly siege. Over 130 rockets have been fired in the last 24 hours from Gaza into Israel, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system over Tel Aviv. In addition, much of Israel’s population only has fifteen seconds to seek shelter in case of a rocket attack. The most recent escalation over the past few days is a continuation of this barrage and of this untenable provocation and ongoing act of warfare.

"Each nation has a fundamental right to self-defense, which Israel is exercising against an enemy which resorts to terrorism. We unequivocally support Israel's right to self-defense in targeting the long range missile capabilities of Hamas. We call for a halt of rocket attacks against Israeli population centers. We hope for the good of all Israelis and Palestinians that the hostility ceases.

"For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, it means yet again being held hostage to the Hamas Charter advocating destruction of Israel and being used as a forward position of Iran's genocidal intentions towards Israel.

"The loss of innocent lives is deeply saddening. We are thankful that ‘Iron Dome,’ designed and implemented with help from the U.S., has been able to prevent many rockets from reaching Israeli civilians. This violence is causing deep wounds to both sides. Israel is making efforts to warn Palestinian families in Gaza to evacuate target sites.

"Finally, the JCRC points to a recent report of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that some of the images used over the past week under the hashtag of #GazaUnderAttack date as far back as 2009 and others are from intra-Arab conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Such incendiary propaganda, which in some cases has been circulated hundreds of thousands of times, only further inflames hatred and makes it all the more difficult to bring an end to the latest outbreak of violence. We pray that peace can be achieved soon so that both Israelis and Palestinians can live without fear and loss."

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