ISRAEL AUTHORIZES EXPANSION OF "CAST LEAD"
Israel was forced to take action after all attempts – over many years – to bring an end to terror attacks from Gaza proved unsuccessful. No sovereign nation would tolerate the daily targeting of its people. Hamas abused its truce with Israel, not only to keep firing missiles against the civilian population, but also to stockpile weapons in preparation for a confrontation with the IDF. For this reason, the Government authorized the expansion of "Cast Lead".
3 JANUARY 09
1. "Cast Lead" has dealt Hamas a severe blow: hundreds of terrorists killed, dozens of headquarters and ammunitions dumps destroyed, tunnels collapsed, capability to manufacture weapons impaired. Hamas still maintains the capacity and will to engage in terrorism. With Iranian assistance, Hamas has extended the reach of its missile strikes to threaten close to one million Israelis. And by using mosques, other public institutions and even private homes as arsenals and bases of operation, Hamas has effectively taken the Palestinians of Gaza hostage – deliberately and callously using them as human shields. Notwithstanding, an estimated 88% of those killed during "Cast Lead" have been bona fide combatants.
2. Israel resolved to deepen the operation, in order to achieve its stated objectives: to significantly disable the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and produce lasting change in the security predicament affecting residents of southern Israel. This includes the entry of armored and infantry forces, and the call-up of reserves, for the possible intensification of the campaign.
3. While Israel has no intention of governing Gaza, Operation "Cast Lead" must continue for the time being as the IDF acts to gain control over areas from which rockets are being launched on Israeli towns. At the same time, Israel remains in dialogue with the international community, in order to achieve its goals.
4. Israel is not an enemy of the Palestinian residents in Gaza: 400 trucks of humanitarian aid and 10 ambulances were allowed passage into Gaza this week; this assistance will continue. In point of fact, there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Hamas leaders, in contrast, has abandoned the civilian population of Gaza, leaving them to fend for themselves.
OPERATION "CAST LEAD" GETS UNDERWAY – 27 DECEMBER 08
Issued by: The Spokesman, The Prime Minister's Office, Israel http://www.pmo.gov.il
1. Hamas unilaterally suspended the Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel, launching hundreds of rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel over the past week. Israel has exercised maximum restraint, but – after eight years of missile barrages from Gaza – must come to the defense of the 250,000 Israelis living within range of Hamas attack. Any other sovereign nation would do the same.
2. Under cover of the truce, Hamas engaged in a major campaign to upgrade its terrorist capabilities, manufacturing and smuggling massive quantities of weapons into Gaza – including rockets, explosive charges and machine guns – and constructing a network of underground tunnels for combat purposes. Israel cannot acquiesce to the presence of a Hizballah-like organization on its southern border.
3. The objective of the IDF operation is to cripple the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, impairing the ability of Hamas and its allies to launch attacks on the citizens of Israel; IDF action would have been unnecessary had Hamas abandoned the path of terror.
Israel is engaged in self-defense, and will respond assertively to any provocation by other parties in the region.
4. Hamas belongs to the "A" League of extremism, alongside Iran, Syria, Al Qaida and Hizballah. The United Nations and a majority of its member states have designated Hamas a terrorist organization and will not engage in any contact with its representatives. Israel expects the international community to lend its support to the war on Hamas terror.
5. Israel has done everything possible to avert any humanitarian crisis in Gaza, allowing for the regular entry of supplies and international aid. In fact, just last week, it was Hamas that acted to prevent the delivery of humanitarian assistance from Egypt.
6. While the IDF takes pains to direct its activities exclusively against terrorists, Hamas callously places Palestinian civilians in harm's way – positioning its forces inside schools and houses of worship, and launching attacks from crowded areas. The unintentional injury of any civilians in Gaza is the sole responsibility of Hamas.
7. Hamas objections notwithstanding, the Government of Israel will continue its pursuit of peace with the Palestinian people, led by President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 precisely to further this goal, but Hamas seized control of Gaza, turning the area into a launch pad for terrorism against Israel.
Additional Resources & Information
A. Prime Minster Ehud Olmert: Press Conference (Saturday night, 27 December 2008) on the situation in Gaza:
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=58&ar=Olmert-27-12-2008-Download&ak=null Download
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=58&ar=Olmert-27-12-2008-View&ak=null View online
B. Short film illustrating the true character of Hamas, including references to its ultimate goal of destroying the State of Israel:
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ClipMediaID=140194&ak=null Download
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ClipMediaID=114670&ak=null View
C. Sderot under attack, as Iranian-backed Hamas spreads terror and fear among Israeli civilians:
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ClipMediaID=867435&ak=null Download
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ClipMediaID=867436&ak=null View
D. IAF strike on an underground launching pad in the Gaza Strip:
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=58&ar=UndergroundLaunchingPad-Download&ak=null Download
• http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=58&ar=UndergroundLaunchingPad-View&ak=null View
E. Updates from the IDF website in English http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/
F. Israel Foreign Ministry updates: See http://www.mfa.gov.il
Data provided by the JCPA (http://www.jcpa.org ):
- Israeli population centers in southern Israel have been the target of over 6,000 rockets, as well as thousands of mortar shells, fired by Hamas and other organizations since 2001. Rocket attacks increased by 500% after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in August 2005.
- During the Egyptian- brokered six-month "ceasefire", some 215 rockets were actually launched at Israel.