Community condemns Gaza rocket attacks

May 31, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Leaders of the Australian Jewish community have spoken about Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at Israel.

Bomb shelter at a school in Shar Hanegev pic: Henry Benjamin

President of the ZFA, Dr Danny Lamm said, “The actions of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups operating in Gaza, which included  rockets falling in the yard of a kindergarten, are just a follow-up to the Hamas sponsored riots that took place on the border between Gaza and Israel two weeks ago.

It is remarkable, that Australian media has been so silent in the face of these attacks.  ABC radio for example, which reported so heavily on the riots in Gaza, has chosen to ignore the news of a blatant terrorist attack on Israel’s sovereignty and effectively to hide it from the listening public.

We strongly condemn Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organisations who seek to destroy Israel and rather than seek peace.

We call on recent critics of Israel to join countries such as Ireland and Austria to recognise these rocket attacks for what they are and to judge Hamas and its conduct accordingly.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the national representative body of the Australian Jewish community, stated it is shocked and appalled by the firing of over 50 mortar rounds from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip targeted at Israeli civilian population centres in the country’s south.Israelis are reporting that the barrage is continuing at present with no sign of abating.

With only 15 seconds’ warning, hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians are now desperately scrambling to bomb shelters and waiting in terror for news from their loved ones. Among the targets hit by the rocket fire was a kindergarten in the Eshkol regional community. A tunnel into Israel constructed by Palestinian terrorist groups near the Kerem Shalom humanitarian aid crossing was also uncovered by the Israel Defence Forces.

These are deliberate attacks aimed at civilians, and constitute a war crime. We welcome the statements of condemnation of this latest Palestinian escalation by the governments of Ireland, Italy, and the United States, among others.

President Anton Block said:  “We express our solidarity with the people of Israel in this difficult time and call on Australian politicians to condemn without equivocation or delay these gross violations by the Palestinians of the laws and norms of armed conflict and international humanitarian law.

We also call upon all sections of the media to report accurately on the targeting of civilians in Israel by Palestinian terrorist organisations in these latest rocket attacks, and not merely onIsrael’s response to them.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) National Chairman Mark Leibler and Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein strongly condemned Hamas, the ruling power in Gaza, and its fellow terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), for the barrage of rockets and mortars they fired at Israeli civilians over the last day.

They noted: “These barbaric, unprovoked and indefensible attacks were specifically timed during the morning and evening peak times to maximise the  possibility of civilian casualties. It was only Israeli technology, in the form of the Iron Dome anti-missile shield, and pure luck, with a kindergarten playground empty when it was hit, that prevented the tragedy these terror groups were hoping for.

“Hot on the heels of their recent violent attempts to infiltrate Israel and murder and kidnap Israeli civilians while callously using their own civilians as human shields, the so-called ‘March of Return’, this latest outrage confirms yet again the horrifying nature of these groups. They are more than willing to deliberately sacrifice their own people to achieve their cynical, ruthless political goals.

“This time they went so far as to target the power lines that bring electricity from Israel to Gaza. Last week, after encouraging the destruction by demonstrators of the only border crossing for civilian aid to Gaza, Hamas turned back trucks of medical supplies from Israel and then complained about shortages.

“Hearteningly, on this occasion, international condemnation has, on the whole, been directed at the appropriate address – Hamas – and there has been understanding that Israel unequivocally does have the right to defend itself. Perhaps if the international community had taken a similar, principled stance during the recent border violence, as Australia and the US commendably did, Hamas would not have been encouraged to execute this latest outrage in a long line of war crimes.

“Hopefully, the international community will act to make Hamas understand that it has more to lose than to gain from continuing to provoke and perpetrate conflict, and this will lead to improved conditions for the population of Gaza suffering under their oppressive rule,” Mr Leibler and Dr Rubenstein concluded.

JCCV calls for community solidarity against rocket attacks on Israel

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria expresses its full support for yesterday’s public statement by the ECAJ condemning the rocket attacks on Israel this week from inside Gaza.

The JCCV calls on its affiliates to show solidarity with Israel as it addresses the ongoing security threat orchestrated by Hamas.

The JCCV specifically calls on the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) to openly condemn the Hamas-led rocket attacks on Israel, including rocket fire directed towards civilian targets.

The JCCV’s acting president Anton Hermann said that the AJDS’s public support for the pro-Hamas rally in Melbourne in May was abhorrent to the vast majority of the Victorian Jewish community.

“The AJDS has the audacity to criticise what it deliberately mislabels as Israel’s ‘brazen display of hostility’ towards Hamas militants, who remain committed to Israel’s destruction. The AJDS claims to stand for human rights. Will they now openly condemn the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians?” Hermann asked.

“If not, the JCCV will take all appropriate steps to distance the roof body for the Victorian Jewish community from the factually incorrect, anti-Israel policy positions of the AJDS.”

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