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Op-Ed: Official Statement: Israel Fighting War of Survival

Statement by Hon Fiamma Nirenstein, Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Published: Friday, November 16, 2012 2:53 PM


Thursday mornng, just as we got back from Israel with a delegation of the Italy-Israel Friendship Parliamentary Association, we learnt of the news of the deliberate killing of three innocent civilians in their house in Kiryat Malachi, struck by one of the 450 rockets indiscriminately fired in the past 48 hours at the Southern Israel population of one and a half million innocent people.

I say deliberate because this barrage of missiles is evidently meant to target the civil population, as always since Israel, in August 2005, disengaged from Gaza, nowadays entirely in the hands of Hamas’ Palestinians.

Since then an intolerable barrage of missiles, partly long range (Fajr) Iranian made, partly Grad Katyusha, as well as other kinds of rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza strip

The Association visited the population and expressed its solidarity to people at Kfar Aza kibbutz, harshly struck in the past few days. We saw children locked up for days in safe rooms, houses bombed, stores shut down, people always ready to reach the shelters built in every house within fifteen seconds.

We heard stories of dead and wounded.

My impression is that Israelis have been living in conditions that other countries, including ours, would find unacceptable, as its civil population is gratuitously targeted with studied cruelty.

I also think that the IDF has been trying its outmost to contain the number of Palestinian casualties within the ongoing operation.

Israel has only tried to put an end to the rocket fires by striking the perpetrators and weapons storage sites; Hamas’ deliberate exposure of its own civilians makes a perfectly targeted operation very difficult, which we of course regret, hoping that Gaza will some day take care of its own development and its own people rather than concentrate on its desire for the destruction of Israel.

Clearly, the massive Israeli investments in the lives of its citizens with a widespread defense system, a shelter per each house, and the constant investment to protect schools and workplaces make it difficult for rockets to strike civilians in Israel. That’s why the death toll is contained despite the constant and relentless barrage of missiles. Hopefully the fire will cease as soon as possible, but evidently beyond the natural human sorrow for each of the dead and wounded, Hamas needs to desist from its resolute determination to destroy the State of Israel.

Numerous families like ours are going to face a nightmare in the next hours in the shelters under an attack that aims at killing civilians. We express our solidarity with them while we hope for peace..

Rome, November 15th, 2012

From il Giornale

The Israeli Government long pondered before launching a military operation called “Amud Anan”, Pillar of Cloud, with the targeted killing of Hamas armed wing leader Ahmad Jaabari, responsible forf hundreds of murderous terror attacks against Israelis.

Its consequences can be harsh: heavy rocket fire is already pouring in Beersheba, the sky above the Negev is furrowed by wan light stripes; people in the rest of the South of Israel are in shelters, Gaza at its turn is experiencing nightmare nights; the IAF is striking Fajr 5 rockets storage sites and two further Hamas leader have been attacked.

Hamas declared that “the gates of hell had opened” for Jews. Sinai is crisscrossed with anti-Israeli terror, now hunting for prey; Iran might order Hizbullah in the North to open fire; and President Morsi’s Egypt, that recalled its Ambassador, could furiously react in defense of Hamas, also affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Jaabari was riding around in a car in broad daylight, confident evidently that Netanyahu would not dare or did not possess the correct intelligence, or else that his trip to the North along with Ehud Barak meant disinterest in Gaza.

Yet he had been precisely and unequivocally warned by both the Prime Minister as well as Barak: “I am responsible for choosing the right time and will charge the highest price.”

Addressing the Ambassadors convened in Ashkelon, Netanyahu continued by saying: “No government would tolerate a situation where … its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. I hope that Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza got the message. If not, Israel is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people”.

The alternative would have been a ground invasion like in 2008-9, which may yet occur, or else an unequivocal scream into the ear of Ismail Hanyeh, Hamas Prime Minister, as well as the other Hamas leaders: Firing missiles at a million and a half of innocent civilians in Southern Israel is forbidden.

In the last two days the Israeli Air Force carried on hitting weapons and rockets, especially long range Fajr 5, storage sites, and military installations; the death toll now is at fifteen, which may suggest that the Government prefers an aerial rather than a ground operation with plenty of victims and unforeseeable international reactions.

The past few days a barrage of 450 missiles had hit the South of Israel. “It’s a new kind of missile” Kadima MK Shai Hermesh explained to us in his kibbutz along the Gaza-border, while showing a group of visiting Italian parliamentarians cracked walls, broken trees, huge round holes in the ceilings of buildings that people carrying children fled while the siren was blaring Red Color, tzeva adom, “bigger missiles will soon reach Tel Aviv”.

And they did. "These missiles were supplied by Iran; twenty centimeters thick walls are not enough. We provided each house with a shelter with forty centimeters thick walls and shatter-proof windows. We only have fifteen seconds to reach it, but the Government spent 250 millions in two years to protect everyone”.

That’s why the death toll is not high, not because those missiles are not harmful, as per the usual propaganda statement. The truth is that children are placed as shields of combatants in Gaza, but we have shelters for everyone here, he insists.

Hermesh shows us a closed up and armored kindergarten where toddlers spend all their time; they never go out in the open air. Adults see their jobs in ruins, there are no open stores, no outside walks, offices are closed, all of this is interspersed with destruction and damage to schools and houses.

Adriana Katz, psychiatrist in Sderot, a deeply affected city, says: “The serious syndromes we treat in children and in the adult population are unknown, because it is not post traumatic [stress disorder]: as soon as you slightly recover you are hit by another missile, and the trauma repeats itself. So, there is no post".

Every hour a new politician of the Egyptian government renews the war threat, all of the neighborhood threatens.

The night draws near, it will be hard, but people here are determined to go back to peace, they want to put a halt to missiles.

Is it so difficult for Europe to understand? It's so very strange, everything is so crystal clear. But, oh, it looks like extremely difficult.

Call it stupidity, call it anti-Semitism.