Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday spoke with US President Barack Obama and US Vice President Joe Biden about the
escalation in Gaza and southern Israel.
Obama expressed support
for "Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket
attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians," according
to a White House press release. Netanyahu, in turn, thanked the US leaders for taking the position that Israel had a right to defend itself.
Obama also spoke with Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi, reiterated Israel's right to self-defense and expressed hope that
Egypt would play a stabilizing role in the region.
Israel's Foreign Ministry has embarked on a massive public relations campaign
to explain to world governments that Wednesday’s targeted killing of Hamas
military leader Ahmed Jabari was necessary to save lives.
“It is very
important to explain to the nations of the world that Israeli citizens have a
right to live in peace and security just like any other citizens of the world,”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said at a meeting with top officials in his
office to assess the evolving situation. Israelis don’t want to live
their lives amid sirens warning of incoming rockets, he said.
officials said the decision to react militarily to five days of continual rocket
attacks came after pleas for international intervention were
Israel had wanted the international community to take action.
When that failed to happen, it took matters into its own hands, the officials
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in New York, Ron Prosor, sent two
urgent letters to the Security Council and the secretary- general on Monday and
Tuesday, asking them to condemn Hamas and to take action.
after letter and speech after speech to the Security Council, the secretary-
general, and other bodies of the UN, I have conveyed the great danger of the
continuous rocket fire from Gaza,” Prosor wrote.
“No nation, no people
and no government can accept the daily targeting of its cities and its citizens.
There are going to be consequences,” he wrote.
On Wednesday evening, the
Foreign Ministry immediately went into partial emergency mode.
sent its ambassadors a package of talking points and historical background, so
they could best explain the operation to their host governments.
on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paved the way, by hosting a large
meeting of foreign ambassadors in Israel.
Police showed the envoys the
different missiles that Palestinians had fired into Israel.
ambassadors heard victims’ testimony, saw video clips of attacks and listened to
Netanyahu explain how the situation was intolerable.
In its package to
Israeli ambassadors, the Foreign Ministry explained that Gazans had fired more
than 120 rockets and missiles at one million civilians living in southern Israel
since Saturday night, when Palestinians in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile at an
It noted that Palestinians in Gaza had launched 800 rockets at
Israel this year.
Ambassadors were told to clarify that Israel was not
interesting in seeing the Gaza situation deteriorate.
The IDF operation,
the Foreign Ministry said, was aimed at removing the strategic threat to Israeli
The military acted out of self-defense and out of a duty to
protect its citizens, the ministry said.
Israel was showing restraint but
it could not continue to tolerate the continued attacks, the ministry said, and
added that no state would do so.
The ministry blamed Hamas for the
attacks and said it was responsible for everything that happened in the Gaza
It noted that since Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005 it had
become a “breeding ground” for terrorist groups, including those associated with
al-Qaida and global jihad.
Weapons smuggled into Gaza from Libya, Iran
and Sudan had strengthened terrorism from the Strip, the ministry
It noted that Hamas was committing a double war crime in that it
hid behind civilians in Gaza so that it could fire against Israeli
Israel, in turn, had attacked military targets and made every
effort not to harm the civilian population in Gaza, and regretted any injuries
Border crossings into Gaza have remained open for
goods, humanitarian aid and routine pedestrian passage, the ministry said.