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Fighting in Gaza - Israel's Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

2009-01-04

(1) Why did the IDF embark on military operation in Gaza?
(2) What does Israel want to achieve?
(3) When will Israel conclude the operation?
(4) The harming of innocent civilians
(5) What will follow it? 
 

(1) Why did the IDF embark on military operation in Gaza?
Over the past eight years, Israel's continued to make all possible attempts to achieve peace. These attempts, including the full handing over of Gaza to the Palestinians in 1975, have been answered with a series of terror attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations. Israel aspires to peaceful and good neighborly relations with the Palestinian people. In August 2005, Israel unilaterally evacuated all the Jewish settlements in Gaza without placing any conditional demands on the Palestinian leadership, thinking that this move would serve the cause of peace. Since then, the Hamas organization has invested all its finances and efforts in attacking Israel rather than building and developing Gaza for the sake of a better life for its residents. They acted against the Palestinian Authority, even expelling its officials from Gaza using violence and its familiar methods of terror. Despite Hamas' open declaration that its goal is the destruction of the State of Israel, Israel continues to believe that peace is in the interests of the Palestinian people, of Israel, and of the entire region; and it has announced numerous times that it is interested in a truce at the very least.
Hamas recently violated the relative calm of the past few months and opened massive missile fire on the communities in southern Israel, in a blatant attempt to strike residential areas, schools and kindergartens, shopping centers, and any place frequented by Israeli citizens. Israel conducted itself with maximum restraint and repeatedly appealed to the Palestinians to cease these attacks and resume the ceasefire. Egypt, which brokered the calm, also put pressure on Hamas to agree to continue the calm. Other bodies implored Hamas to stop the firing, but Hamas leaders brazenly decided to announce the end of the quiet and then began increasing the rocket fire. On just one single day, 80 missiles fell in Israeli territory! Since Hamas did not respond to the requests of the international community, and ignored Security Council Resolution 1850, which calls upon it to cease its terrorist activities and to recognize Israel, we were left with no choice; we were obliged to bring an end to the intensive firing - and we  had to tell this terrorist gang: Enough is enough!

 

(2) What does Israel want to achieve?
The goal of the operation is to improve drastically the security situation of hundreds of thousands of civilians in southern Israel. For years these people have been living under fire from rockets and mortar bombs. The indiscriminate firing out of Gaza - over 12,000 rockets in the past seven years - has made the lives of these residents insufferable. No country in the world would agree to have its citizens be the target of constant fire. Accordingly, the goal of the current operation is to restore security and normal life to these citizens. Returning security to Israeli citizens will also bring more security to the citizens of Gaza, who themselves are also suffering and being harmed by Hamas' firing and terror. 
 

(3) When will Israel conclude the operation?
Israel fights against Hamas in Gaza for lack of any other option, in order to defend our citizens. Hamas' terrorist government is not interested in peace, does not take the interests of the Palestinian people into consideration, and continues to fire rockets at Israeli civilians and to call for the destruction of Israel. No country in the world can allow its citizens to live in bomb shelters for eight years. This is intolerable! When we see Israel's citizens living significantly more securely and Israel's children living the way children do all over the world, without fear of a rocket falling on their heads in the playground, we will end this operation. 
 

(4) The harming of innocent civilians
The loss of any innocent civilian is painful. But we need to remember one thing clearly: When Israel strikes at Hamas, it is trying to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas makes every effort to kill children. It fires at kindergartens, schools, civilians - because that's what suits its radical values. Our values are fundamentally different. We exclusively aim at military targets, at installations that Hamas uses to wage war. We even rule out some prime military targets because a strike poses too much of a danger to the civilian population. In many cases the Israeli army calls Palestinian residents on the phone and informs them that it intends to bomb a nearby building and they should distance themselves from the vicinity. But Hamas, in contrast, hides behind civilians, deliberately situating its installations and arms warehouses among them. Hamas does not care what happens to the citizens of Gaza. On Friday, before the operation began, Hamas fired rockets and killed two Palestinian schoolgirls in Beit Lahia. The fate of the people does not matter to Hamas - it callously uses them as human shields. 

 

For more information see the presentation at the bottom of this page
 

(5) What will follow it?
Whoever desires peace in this region, and clings to the vision of two states, needs to understand that terror and extremism must be fought. The only way for Palestinians to have a better life in a country of their own is through renouncing the path of Hamas and adopting the path of dialogue and coexistence. Israel wants peace and needs to act against Hamas in order to achieve it. We would like a better future for this region, and we are using diplomatic means to achieve it. Negotiating with the Palestinian Authority as per the Annapolis process is the correct way to achieve peace. But Hamas does not want peace. It consistently responds to every attempt at peace and reconciliation with blood and killing, and offers only a vision of endless war. It is trying to hurt Israelis and even Palestinians who do not agree with its way, and has tried to undermine the stability of other countries as well. Peace with Israel and quiet in the region will only be attained through dialogue and not through any other manner. But to get there, we have to steadfastly fight the elements that are using violence and bloodshed to try and thwart the dialogue. 
 

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