July 10, 2014
Despite leaving every last inch of Gaza in August 2005, and ever 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. This week, with the increased range of Hamas’ missiles, two-thirds of Israel’s population (both Jews and Arabs) is under attack from Gaza. Hamas’ most recent escalation has made this an untenable situation and a provocation, constituting acts of war.
Every nation has a fundamental right to self-defense, and we unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself. We hope, for the good of all – Israelis and Palestinians – that Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union, ceases its continuous rocket attacks and its exploitation of Gazans as human shields in schools, hospitals and houses.
In contrast, (even as it tries to protect her innocent civilians), Israel is taking steps to provide advance warning (via leaflets and calls to cell phones) to Palestinian families in Gaza to evacuate target sites.
In the past week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet have exercised substantial restraint. That restraint has been met by Hamas deliberately escalating and provoking.
We look to the international community for understanding of Israel’s plight. Too often, we hear diplomats call for restraint on “all sides.” Such messages are misleading and hypocritical. The only message, the only answer, is for Hamas and its affiliates to stop the rocket attacks. Now.
We pray for the peace and security of Israel, and continue to yearn for the day when she will enjoy that peace and security amidst all her neighbors. In the meantime, we stand with her and our Israeli brother and sisters.