Browsing Posts published on November 16, 2012

Washington, D.C. - As terrorist rockets continue to fall on Israel, the United States Senate tonight unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and sponsored by 62 others, which strongly supports Israel’s inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.

The resolution, S. Res. 599, was cosponsored by over half the Senate in a demonstration of widespread support for Israel as she defends herself from the constant barrage of hundreds of Gaza-based terrorist missiles targeting Israeli civilians. Nearly 1,000 terrorist missiles have been fired into Israel this year.

“We strongly reiterate our support for Israel’s right to self-defense as a barrage of missiles from Gaza are attacking the people of Israel and endangering innocent lives,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The passage of this Senate resolution clearly expresses the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security of our nation’s close and historic ally in the Middle East. We firmly stand united with Israel against terrorism.”

“The passage of this resolution sends a strong and clear message that the United States stands in solidarity with the State of Israel,” Senator Kirk said. “Israel is a fellow democracy and has an inherent right to defend its citizens from terrorist missiles.”

The resolution urges the President to work with the international community to prevent Hamas and other terrorist organizations within Gaza from retaining the ability to launch rockets against Israel, and calls on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Gaza-based attacks against Israel.

Other senators cosponsoring the resolution include: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), John Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.),  John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (D-Pa.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

 

Sincerely,

Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senator

Earlier today, rocket fire continued from Gaza, even as Egypt’s Prime Minister was visiting the area.  With alarms going off again in Tel Aviv, and for the first time, Jerusalem, Operation Pillar of Defense  is still needed to protect Israel’s civilians. Overnight, the IDF targeted approximately 150 medium range rocket launching sites as well as ammunition storage facilities across the Gaza Strip, causing severe damage to terror infrastructures.

Since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the Israeli Air Force has targeted over 450 terror activity sites in the Gaza Strip. In addition, IAF aircraft targeted a central terror activity site in the southern Gaza strip in order to harm the command and control posts of the Hamas terror organization.

The Iron Dome Active Missile Defense System has successfully intercepted over 130 rockets that launched from Gaza, aimed at Israel.

Over the past few days, over 300 rockets were fired at Israeli communities — contrary to an earlier erroneous update which misstated this fact

In this video, the IDF targets underground rocket launchers in Gaza. The secondary explosions show that hidden explosives were hit.

http://www.idf.il/Sip_Storage/FILES/4/size220X0/8884.jpg

Like in all operations, the IDF has taken the utmost care to protect uninvolved civilians during Operation Pillar of Defense, even while rockets have continued to fall on Israel. In addition to the large number of flyers the IDF has dropped prior to striking an area, air strikes are often aborted when civilians are found in the area.

Yesterday saw one such occurrence- an air strike on an underground launch site was aborted due to the discovery of civilians in the area.

Since Wednesday (November 14th) afternoon, the IAF has struck ammunition warehouses and rocket launch sites used by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, all in response to the incessant rocket fire directed at Israel. Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, a squadron of intelligence collecting aircraft took the sky. Through sophisticated observation equipment and cameras the pilots were able to identify a rocket launch, and Air Force aircraft were sent to strike the area. But things didn’t go as planned. “We saw that innocent civilians were approaching the area of the underground launch site,” said Lt. Omer, a source within the intelligence squadron who took part in the operation. “We immediately contacted the forces and instructed them to abort the strike.”

The strike was aborted immediately, thanks to the experience of IDF forces. This is one of many similar stories from Operation Pillar of Defense. It has long been one of the IDF’s top priorities to minimize civilian casualties during IDF operations.

The task is not an easy one, as Hamas has intentionally used the civilian areas of Gaza as staging grounds for their attacks on Israel. Knowing that the IDF wishes to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas places its own civilians in the line of fire in order to hide and protect its own operations. Women and children, victims of the Hamas human shield tactics, usually ignore warning signals to evacuate buildings prior to an IDF strike. The victims remain in the house with Hamas members, knowing ahead of time that the IDF will not target civilians. Many innocent bystanders are killed as a result of Hamas’ abuse of its own civilians. Instead of keeping its citizens out of harm’s way, Hamas encourages and even forces its population to join the violent resistance against Israel

During Operation Cast Lead, which took place four years ago, a great emphasis was placed on limiting damage to civilian areas, despite the fact that Hamas officials chose to launch rockets from densely populated areas. After Operation Cast Lead, Col. (res.) Udi, a crew member who took part in the operation, said that “avoiding harm to innocents was a top priority for all those who participated in the operation. You can hear it in the conversations between the pilots and headquarters, and in general. The IAF is trying to do as much as possible so as not to hurt those who are uninvolved.

Source: http://www.idf.il/1283-17615-en/Dover.aspx