Obama, Merkel issue statements of support for Israel

UN, UK, France, Russia also condemn attack against civilians.

Far shot of Tel Aviv terror attack on bus 370 (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Far shot of Tel Aviv terror attack on bus 370
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
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 “outrageous.”
“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.
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Click for full JPost coverage
“That 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.
Merkel 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.
Germany’s envoy, 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.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said following the attack that “we are clear that terrorists must not be allowed to set the agenda.
This shocking 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 this report.