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KEY TALKING POINTS ON ISRAEL’S OPERATION IN GAZA

• Israel’s military action in Gaza is in response to the nearly constant barrage of rockets
and missiles launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. Israel is
fulfilling its duty and responsibility to protect the people of Israel who have been
terrorized by the ongoing assault by Hamas.

• Israel’s action is directed against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure. For years, Hamas has
built up its military resources and know-how with the sole intention of attacking Israel
and its population centers. Since Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza and Hamas’s
violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Hamas has launched tens of thousands of
rockets against cities in Israel’s south. Hamas temporarily eased its rocket attacks
following an Egyptian-brokered six-month “period of calm” in June 2008. As this period
drew to a close, Hamas began to once again fire rockets and mortars into Sderot,
Ashkelon, and other densely populated centers in Israel’s south, launching more than
eighty rockets on December 24 alone.

• No sovereign government in the world would stand by and allow its citizens to be under
steady and heavy attack. In light of the unceasing attacks, Israel had no choice but to act
against Hamas and eliminate its operational capabilities.

• These rockets purposefully target vulnerable southern Israeli cities such as Sderot and
now, further north, to Ashkelon, Netivot and other nearby environs, landing in or near
private homes, schools, colleges, hospitals and daycare and recreation centers. Hamas has
used the past six months of the so called “cease-fire” to build up supplies and improve the
intensity and effectiveness of these attacks. Hamas has pledged that its artillery will soon
be able to reach Israel’s heartland, threatening millions of Israeli civilians. Hamas’
leadership has called for the resumption of suicide bombing attacks within Israeli cities
and the assassination of Israeli leadership.

• Hamas is attacking Israelis well within the internationally accepted borders of the State of
Israel established in 1948.

• Israel is taking maximum precautions to avoid harming civilians in Gaza. The targets
chosen by the Israel Air Force are Hamas operational centers, most of which have been
deliberately located in densely populated areas. The targets include Hamas command
centers, training camps, rocket manufacturing facilities, storage warehouses and tunnels
used to smuggle arms. According to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman, and
confirmed in numerous media reports, “the vast majority of the casualties are terror
operatives; most of whom were wearing uniform and working on behalf of terror
organizations.”

• Israel has shown the utmost restraint in dealing with Hamas’ blatant hostility. Israel has
tried to stop the attacks through a variety of measures, including agreeing to the “period
of calm,” appealing to the international community for support in opposing Hamas
terrorism and legitimate military measures designed to comply with the norms of
international humanitarian law. Sadly, none has succeeded in stopping the lethal rockets
purposefully aimed at Israeli civilians going about their daily routines.

• Hamas bears sole responsibility for the situation in the Gaza Strip. It has refused to
comply with international demands to recognize Israel’s right to exist and cease terrorist
operations. It continues to launch scores of rocket attacks each day at Israeli population
centers. It cynically and deliberately puts ordinary Palestinians in harm’s way by
establishing its terrorist infrastructure – manufacturing, storage, training and strategic
planning – within densely populated areas, in the midst of homes, schools, mosques and
hospitals.

• Hamas is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization that calls for the eradication of the
State of Israel. Both the United States and the European Union have designated Hamas as
a terrorist organization. Hamas (the Arabic acronym for Harakat Al-Muqawama Islamiya
fi Filistin, or the Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine) was established in 1988 by
Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, then a preacher with the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza. Its ultimate
goal is the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state ruled by Islamic theocratic law in
place of the State of Israel. The Hamas covenant, issued in 1988, is replete with anti-
Semitism, and echoes the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion which charges Jews
with an international conspiracy to gain control of the world. In Hamas’ world-view,
Islamic precepts forbid a Jewish state in the area known as Palestine, and the Jewish
people have no legitimate connection to the land of Israel. As its covenant proclaims,
“The land of Palestine is an Islamic trust... It is forbidden to anyone to yield or concede
any part of it... Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it...” To this end, the
leaders of Hamas have denounced compromise with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian
cause.

• Hamas continues to hold hostage Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped on June 25, 2006,
from a military installation near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in southern Israel. In the attack,
two soldiers were killed and three wounded. Hamas has continued to refuse to provide
information as to Cpl. Shalit’s health and condition.

• The State of Israel remains committed to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinian
Authority. Hamas is adamantly opposed to these negotiations. Israel fully redeployed
from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, uprooting Israeli settlers and removing military
installations, in the hope that the Palestinians would govern Gaza responsibly and
peacefully. Instead, four years later, the Hamas leadership has turned Gaza into an armed
camp, creating and maintaining the conditions for a humanitarian crisis, and forcing the
isolation of the Gaza population.