Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Blog

As was the case in 2009’s Operation Cast Lead, the new Israeli offensive into Gaza has been met with unequivocal support from senior US policymakers. Though President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice have all expressed “regret” for the loss of Palestinian lives, and called on Israel to “minimize civilian casualties,” all levels of government continue to support the Gaza offensive.

The difference in rhetoric toward the two “sides” of the conflict is telling. Observe government condemnation of attacks on Israeli civilians, but a near-total silence on the death of dozens of Palestinian innocents:


On Hamas Rocket Attacks

On Israeli Bombardment


President Obama

Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate. – 11/14

Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles; they were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. – 11/18

So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.

Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory. If that can be accomplished without a ramping-up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable; that’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza, it’s also preferable for Israelis -- because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.

And so if we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory, and that then gives us the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that exist. – 11/18


UN Ambassador Susan Rice

Hamas needs to stop the attacks on Israel and allow the situation to de-escalate.

There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately.

Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination and independence. – 11/14

The Government of Israel has noted that, since the beginning of 2012, more than 768 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza, and over 12,000 in the past 12 years. Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself against such vicious attacks. – 11/14


State Department

We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately. – 11/14

This is violence instigated by Hamas. We have – as we’ve said very clearly in our statement yesterday, that we extend our sympathies to the victims, innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians that have been affected by this violence. But let’s be very clear where the onus likes.[sic] – 11/15

It’s a matter of the international community, and particularly regional states with influence, to do what they can to make clear to Hamas that this is not benefiting the cause of the Palestinian people and it’s certainly not benefiting the cause of regional stability. – 11/16

We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties. – 11/14

Our strong position is that Hamas needs to stop its rocket attacks, that Israel is only defending itself. – 11/15

We support, as Mark has said, as the President has said, as the Secretary has said, Israel’s right to self-defense, and we obviously express our regret and sadness for the loss of life on all sides. – 11/16


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Committee on Foreign Affairs

While Hamas intentionally targets Israeli civilians, Israeli officials have alerted civilians in Gaza to the need to stay away from Hamas and its operatives, attempting to minimize casualties. Hamas’ deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians are despicable, as is their continued use of innocent Palestinians civilians in Gaza as human shields.– 11/16

Congress clearly supports Israel’s right to protect itself against attacks from violent extremists such as Hamas, and I strongly urge this Administration to stand with our ally both bilaterally and in multilateral for as it seeks to defend its citizens. – 11/16

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