|Photo by: Nir Elias/Reuters|
Obama, Merkel issue statements of support for Israel
By HERB KEINON
UN, UK, France, Russia also condemn attack against civilians.
US President Barack Obama continued to strongly back Israel during the current
crisis on Wednesday, with the White House issuing a statement after the Tel Aviv
bus bombing saying Washington will stand by its “Israeli allies” and reaffirms
its “unshakeable” commitment and “deep friendship.”
With Obama currently
visiting Asia, the White House issued a statement condemning “today’s terrorist
attack” and calling attacks against innocent Israeli civilians
“The United States will stand with our Israeli allies, and
provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the
perpetrators of this attack,” the statement said.
The statement, issued
two weeks after Obama’s reelection, continued, “The United States reaffirms our
unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and our deep friendship and
solidarity with the Israeli people.”
Earlier in the day, even before the
bombing in Tel Aviv, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for solidarity with
Jerusalem and said Israel had both the right and the obligation to protect its
citizens against rocket attacks from Gaza.
“I don’t think we can imagine,
if we’re not there, what it means to be always in fear of being fired at with
your family,” Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
is why I say emphatically that there is the right to defend the population and
the Israeli state has this right, and this duty,” she said.
renewed her appeal for a rapid cease-fire and the resumption of political
dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. The German Embassy in Tel Aviv,
meanwhile, announced that it was giving NIS 250,000 to Natal, Israel’s Trauma
Center for Victims of Terror and War, to render assistance to children and youth
living close to Gaza and suffering trauma from the missile attacks. Germany
contributed some 600,000 euros to Natal from 2009-2011.
Andreas Michaelis, met with Natal workers in Kiryat Malachi on Tuesday and said
he feels “distress when he sees how the people in Kiryat Malachi live under
continuous missile fire.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in the region
trying to broker a cease-fire, issued a statement saying he was “shocked” by the
attack and condemns it “in the strongest possible terms.”
“There are no
circumstances that justify the targeting of civilians,” he said.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said following the attack that “we are clear
that terrorists must not be allowed to set the agenda.
violence further underlines the urgent need for an immediate deescalation of
violence and a full cease-fire.”
A similar statement was issued by French
Foreign Minister Lauret Fabius.
Pope Benedict, meanwhile, issued an
appeal “to the authorities on both sides to take courageous decisions in favor
of peace and bring an end to a conflict with negative repercussions on the
entire Middle East, which is already tormented by too many conflicts and so in
need of peace and reconciliation.”
Reuters and Noa Amouyal contributed to