Israel Responds to the Bombings in Boston
President Shimon Peres, this afternoon (Tuesday, April 16th), at his residence in Jerusalem, hosted a reception for the foreign diplomatic corps in honor of Israel’s 65th Independence Day. The reception was attended by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the members of the diplomatic corps, and leaders of Israel’s faith groups.
In their remarks, President Peres and PM Netanyahu sent their condolences to the victims and their families of the terrorist attack on the marathon in Boston, expressed Israel’s solidarity with the American people and condemned the bombings.
Following Monday’s tragic bombing, first responders and doctors performed heroically in saving many lives. Alastair Conn, the chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, told reporters Monday that the hospital received training from an Israeli team of experts two years ago. Israel routinely offers disaster assistance to countries all around the world, as well as, in this case, training for hospitals and cities to prepare for large scale incidents.
Said Conn, “About two years ago in actual fact we asked the Israelis to come across and they helped us set up our disaster team so that we could respond in this kind of manner.”
President Shimon Peres:
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
“Permit me to express our solidarity with the bereaved families in Boston today. Three people lost their lives, 140 were wounded and I want to send on behalf of all of us, our condolences to all the families and wish a speedy recovery to all the injured. When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family. We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. God bless them. Today the real problem is terror and terror is not an extension of policy, their policy is terror, their policy is to threaten. Terrorists divide people, they kill innocent people.”
PM Benjamin Netanyahu:
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
“Yesterday, a day of enjoyment in Boston was turned into a day of terror. We send our condolences to President Obama, the American people and the bereaved families. On this day and on any day, Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the American people. We are partners in freedom and in seeking a better future for all humanity.”
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this morning (Thursday, 21 February 2013), delivered the main speech at the state memorial ceremony for Joseph Trumpeldor, 93 years after his death. President Peres used his speech to call upon the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of proscribed terror organizations in light of its involvement in the bombings in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Nigeria:”
A short distance from here a terrible tragedy is unfolding. In Syria, the president is shooting his own people, the children of his country. On our border, in Lebanon, Nasrallah, wrapped in a cloak of religiosity, is pushing Lebanon into a bloody war. It is time to call Hezbollah what it really is – a murderous terror organization. The United States of America and other countries have already included Hezbollah in its list of terrorist organizations. Now, after it has been proved that Hezbollah was behind the terror attack in Bulgaria, on European soil, and murdered innocent civilians, and as reports increase of its involvement, along with Iran, in attacks in Cyprus and Nigeria, the time has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations.”
President Peres continued and said, “The sword of Hezbollah threatens the peace of Lebanon more than the security of Israel. Nasrallah, through his actions, stains all of Lebanon. Lebanon must decide which way she faces – to fire or to peace. In fire they will carry the burden of the fire they ignite, in peace Lebanon can return to herself as a multicultural country. We extend our hand in peace to the country of the cedar trees and regret that Nasrallah seeks the opposite, fire in the trees of Lebanon.”Addressing the wider Middle East President Peres said, “In countries across the Middle East there are great storms, in Iraq, Yemen, Libya there are civil conflicts raging and in other countries violence is increasing. These situations have nothing to do with Israel – these are fires ignited from within. Israel has always sought peace, a country seeking to put out the flames. We are saddened by the suffering of millions of innocent people, they are the victims, the refugees, the homeless and hungry, we are willing to extend our hand in humanitarian support if called upon.
We must also remain vigilant of the flow of weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Weapons from Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”
PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Investigation into the Terrorist Bombing in Wake of the Bulgarian Government Announcement
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, February 5th, 2013), issued the following statement in wake of the Bulgarian government’s announcement regarding the 18 July 2012 terrorist bombing in Burgas:
“I would like to thank the Bulgarian Government for its thorough and professional investigation of the 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas in which six innocent civilians – five Israelis and one Bulgarian – were murdered.
The Bulgarian findings announced today are clear: Hezbollah was directly responsible for the atrocity. There is only one Hezbollah. It is one organization with one leadership.
This is yet a further corroboration of what we have already known, that Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons are orchestrating a worldwide campaign of terror that is spanning countries and continents.
The attack in Burgas was only one of a series of recent terrorist operations against civilians in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia. All this is happening in parallel to the deadly support given by Hezbollah and Iran to the murderous Assad regime in Syria.
The attack in Burgas was an attack on European soil against a member country of the EU. We hope that the Europeans draw the necessary conclusions as to the true character of Hezbollah.”
The agreement between Argentina and Iran is received in Israel with astonishment and provoked deep disappointment. The Argentinian ambassador in Israel will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to provide explanations for this, his government’s latest move. Israel’s Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ms. Dorit Shavit, will request a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, in order to clarify the motivations for this move.
As soon as contacts between Argentina and Iran had begun, we have asked to be updated on the discussions, but we received no response from the Argentinean authorities.
Israel is clearly and understandably concerned by the matter. The 1994 bombing targeted the AMIA Jewish Community Center, and caused 85 dead and hundreds of wounded, Jews and non-Jews alike. Though the attack took place on Argentinean soil and was aimed at Argentinean citizens, the findings of the ensuing investigation by Argentinean authorities has brought up a clear resemblance with the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which occurred two years earlier. The proven relation between the two attacks grants us the natural right to follow the investigations and to expect the perpetrators and their sponsors to be brought to justice, particularly in times when to suffer from the Iranian terror plague around the world.
The Argentinean authorities have pointed at Iran as the sponsor of the attack, and took the necessary steps with Interpol in accordance with their findings. In 2006, Argentine prosecutors formally accused the government of Iran of carrying out the attack and a judge issued arrest warrants for seven senior Iranian officials, including Ahmad Vahidi, who is now Iran’s Minister of Defense. In 1994, Vahidi was the head of Iran’s Quds force, and is wanted by Interpol for the bombing.
Now, this recent agreement raises severe questions: it establishes a committee whose recommendations are non-mandatory, and it provides the country which all the evidence points at, namely Iran, with the capacity to delay indefinitely the committee’s works. It is doubtful whether this is how justice will be rendered.
The Ambassador of Argentina in Israel was summoned today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem for a clarification talk. The MFA’s Deputy Director-General for Latin America, Ambassador Itzhak Shoham, conveyed Israel’s astonishment and disappointment at the Argentinean government’s decision to collaborate with Iran after the latter’s responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center was exposed by the investigation conducted by the Argentinean authorities themselves.
Amb. Shoham protested the unacceptable attitude of the Argentinean government towards Israel since the beginning of contacts between Buenos Aires and Tehran.
Although a deadly attack destroyed the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires two years prior to the AMIA bombing (killing 29 persons , including four Israeli diplomats and wounding 250) and although the findings of the Argentinean investigations have pointed to the great resemblance between the attacks and the involvement of Iran and Hizbullah in both, Argentina has not responded to Israel’s legitimate requests to be informed of its new diplomatic moves with Iran, nor of the way in which Argentina envisages bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Argentina’s approach is particularly disappointing given the intimate relationship to which Israel is accustomed with Argentina, a very friendly country, Shoham stated.
Amb. Shoham added, “A lack of resolve in dealing with terrorism sends a message of weakness. Had Argentina dealt resolutely with the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy, the 1994 AMIA bombing might not have happened.”
A short while ago, a ceasefire agreement regarding the fighting in the south, came into effect. Following eight days of operations, the IDF has accomplished its predetermined objectives for Operation Pillar of Defense, and has inflicted severe damage to Hamas and its military capabilities.
As a result of IDF operations, the command and control apparatus of Hamas was significantly struck, beginning with the targeting of the commander of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Jabari, continuing with the targeting of broad terrorist infrastructure, facilities and military bases, as well as the destruction of dozens of smuggling and explosive tunnels.
During the operation, the IDF damaged and destroyed significant elements of Hamas’ strategic capabilities, among them. Amongst those capabilities were long-range (over 40 km) and hundreds of short- and medium-range rocket launchers. These actions have severely impaired Hamas’ launching capabilities, resulting in a decreasing number of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip. The ‘Iron Dome’ defense system has accomplished high rate of successful interceptions (84%) and Hamas’ accuracy with regards to hitting populated areas within Israel remained below 7%.
IDF soldiers, in regular and reserve military service, gathered in assembly areas and prepared for the ground operation. Their time was used for training and improving their operational capabilities.
These operational achievements provided the underlying framework for this evening’s ceasefire agreement.
At this time, Israeli residents are requested to continue to pay attention to Home Front Command’s instructions.
Over the course of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF targeted over 1,500 terror sites including 19 senior command centers, operational control centers and Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, 30 senior operatives, damaging Hamas’ command and control, hundreds of underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, 26 weapon manufacturing and storage facilities and dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites.
Senior Operatives Targeted:
14.11 – Ahmed Sai’d Halil Jabri, head of Hamas’ military wing.
15.11 – Hab’s Hassan Us Msamch, senior operative in Hamas’ police.
16.11 – Ahmed Abu Jalal, Commander of the military wing in Al-Muazi
16.11 – Khaled Shayer, senior operative in the anti-tank operations.
17.11 – Osama Kadi, senior operative in the smuggling operations in the southern Gaza Strip.
17.11 – Muhammad Kalb, senior operative in the aerial defense operations.
19.11 – Ramz Harb, Islamic Jihad senior operative in propaganda in Gaza city.
Number of Rocket Launches Toward Israel During the Operation:
14.11 – 75
15.11 – 316
16.11 – 228
17.11 – 237
18.11 – 156
19.11 – 143
20.11 – 221
21.11 (Until 21:00) – 130
Rocket Launched Towards Israel:
Total number of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip – 1,506
Open areas – 875
Urban areas – 58
‘Iron Dome’ Interceptions – 421
Failed launching attempts – 152
Fatalities – 5 Injuries – 240
The legal justification for the operation
Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip have been waging an ongoing armed conflict against Israel, which has included incessant barrages of rockets and mortars towards the Israeli civilian population and other terror activities.
Israel has the right under international law, and a moral obligation, to act in self-defense, to defend its population and to protect its territory when under attack, as well as to take military action against the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Violations of international law on the part of the Hamas and the other terror organizations
Hamas’ actions are in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law, including the principle of distinction, which requires Hamas and other terrorist organizations not only to refrain from directing its attacks at Israeli civilians, but also to clearly distinguish itself from its own civilian population.
These terrorist organizations consciously and deliberately violate these principles in a repeated manner, by deploying weapons and command centers in densely populated areas, operating from residential areas, and exploiting the civilian population by exposing them to serious harm. By doing so, Hamas and the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip are committing war crimes.
The commitment of the State of Israel and the IDF to international law
Israel and the IDF are fully committed to international law in general, and to the Laws of Armed Conflict in particular.
Israeli commanders and soldiers are guided by international law in their actions. The IDF strives to imbue the principles of international law in IDF training, the IDF Code of Ethics and rules of engagement.
The IDF receives ongoing legal advice on a wide range of operational issues at various levels of the command chain (for example, regarding targeting decisions, the use of weaponry and issues regarding humanitarian efforts towards the civilian population).
The legality of the IDF’s attacks
IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip are solely targeted against military targets and terrorist operatives. Civilian objects such as residential buildings may constitute legitimate targets if used by terrorist operatives for military purposes.
The IDF makes great efforts to minimize the incidental harm that may be caused to civilians or civilian objects as a result of an attack on a military target. For example:
A short while ago, on Monday afternoon, the Israeli Air Force targeted a media building in Gaza that housed a serious of terrorist leaders from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The senior PIJ cadre was operating in a media building. They weren’t there to be interviewed. They were using reporters as human shields. However, Israel targeted only the 2nd floor, which is where the senior terrorists were. The rest of the building was unharmed.
We know that Hamas and other terror groups target Israeli civilians, using Palestinians as human shields. So who was Israel targeting when it decided to strike this building?
Baha Abu al-Ata, commander of PIJ Gaza City Brigade, who is involved in planning attacks against Israel, arms manufacturing, and the types of long-range rockets that are terrorizing millions of Israeli citizens.
Also targeted while hiding in the media building was Tyseer Abu AlAta a senior Islamic Jihad member in charge of the operations against Israel.
Islamic Jihad is claiming that Ramez Harb, responsible for propaganda for head Islamic Jihad’s their armed wing Saraya al Quds was killed in the operation, a clear admission of terrorists attempting to use journalists as human shields. However, the IDF is focusing on pinpoint, surgical strikes to eliminate terrorists and avoid civilian casualties
(Communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the members of the foreign press being detained are nine Italian citizens, six citizens of Japan, one Canadian, one South Korean and a French national. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.
This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.
For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers.