Ronald Lauder speaks at WJC conference 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)
The World Jewish Congress asked international diplomats to put themselves in Israel’s place on Wednesday, stating that such a change in perspective would bring them to a better understanding of Jerusalem’s decision to launch an operation against Gaza.
“If it were your cities under attack, we know you would agree that a sovereign government has a duty to defend its citizens,” WJC President Ronald Lauder and CEO Robert Singer wrote in a letter that they sent to national ambassadors to the United Nations.
The international community must now show its “solidarity and support” for the state of Israel, the pair wrote “on behalf of 100 Jewish communities and affiliated organizations on six continents.”
World Jewry stands “side-by-side with Israel” and maintains “absolute support” for the Jewish state’s current military operation in Gaza, they continued.
“Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization, has refused to recognize Israel and has repeatedly vowed to destroy the Jewish State. In recent weeks, Hamas has escalated its attacks – kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers and launching an unrelenting rocket assault on Israel’s cities and civilians. In the face of this threat, Israel was left with no choice but to respond,” the WJC leaders said.
Jerusalem claims that teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, whose bodies were found outside of Hebron last week, were kidnapped and shot by Hamas terrorists. Arab teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir was killed shortly thereafter in what appears to be a revenge attack by a number of delinquent ultra-orthodox youths. Abu Khdeir was reportedly burned alive and his death has served as a catalyst for widespread Arab rioting within Israel.
According to the IDF spokesman over 450 rockets have been fired at Israel since the beginning of the year.
“Israel tried to restore the calm without resorting to major military action, but Hamas has only intensified its attacks,” the letter continued, asserting that Israel “cannot tolerate a situation in which the lives of millions of its citizens are threatened.”
“Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has used the territory as a staging ground for rocket attacks, launching over 9,000 rockets and 5,000 mortar bombs. Since Israel and the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles in 1993, Hamas has perpetrated more than 80 suicide attacks, murdering some 1,000 Israelis. Today, Hamas possesses over 10,000 rockets that threaten 40% of the country’s population.”
According to a spokeswoman for the international Jewish body, the letter will also be sent to “all the relevant Ambassadors” in Washington as well as “to all the European Union and other Foreign Ministers.”