JCRC Condemns Recent Wave of Deadly Rocket Attacks Against Israeli Civilians from Hamas Occupied Gaza

JCRC welcomes ceasefire and appreciates that until there is a change in Palestinian leadership, long-term peace is highly unlikely

May 6, 2019

Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in solidarity with the people of Israel who suffered over this weekend from yet another barrage of rocket attacks from Hamas occupied Gaza:

“Over the weekend, close to 700 rocket attacks by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terror groups left four Israelis dead and several others seriously wounded. Beyond the obvious intent of these attacks, which is to kill Jews simply because they are Jewish, these assaults aim to terrorize Israel’s civilian population and blackmail the Israeli government into allowing Hamas to access additional financial resources to tighten their grip over Gaza and threaten Israel.

“While most of the world went about its business completely unmoved by the horrific war crimes committed by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Israeli civilians, rocket alert sirens were heard in communities as far north as Rehovot, which is the Minneapolis Jewish community’s sister city, as well as in the cities of Beersheba, Ashkelon, Yavne, Arad, as well as in the surrounding agricultural communities of southern Israel. In just the past few days, rockets hit kindergartens, homes, cars, a hospital, and a factory.

“Notably, this latest barrage of rockets came during a yearlong arson campaign by Hamas and its allies against Israelis living on the other side of the Gaza border who very explicitly call for the destruction of Israel. A campaign which has not just placed Israeli civilians at risk, but also the brave men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces whose main responsibility is to protect the lives of innocent Israelis living on the other side of Israel’s internationally recognized border with Gaza.

“In the wake of the latest ceasefire, we pray for a swift recovery for the civilians wounded because of Hamas terrorism, including Palestinian civilians who continue to be victimized by Hamas’ cruel reign over Gaza. Notably, these Palestinian civilians are intentionally put at grave risk by Hamas as the terror group engages in the war crime of using densely populated Palestinian civilian neighborhoods as cover to launch its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, which is also a war crime.

“We are appreciative of the support from President Donald Trump who stated ‘[w]e support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens’ and U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, who correctly assessed that ‘Hamas & PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] have engaged in yet another deplorable act of terrorism, indiscriminately firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilian communities. The U.S. stands firmly in support of Israel’s right to self-defense and we call on the international community to do the same.’ To that end, we also applaud the European Union’s ambassador in Israel for Tweeting that ‘firing indiscriminately against civilians [is] unacceptable.’

“Finally, as we have said several times before, the false equivalency inherent in the demand for ‘both sides’ to exercise restraint and the soft bigotry of no expectations for the Palestinian leadership must come to an end. Instead, what is needed at this moment is the moral clarity to condemn this spasm of violence for what it is: homicidal nihilism and the logical fruit of decades of unchecked antisemitism.”

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.