Thursday, February 7, 2008


Israel's Ambassador to New Zealand responds to a column which accused Israel of being a terrorist state.

Try Wearing Israeli Shoes - Yuval Rotem (New Zealand Herald)

  • Would New Zealanders ask their government to sit idly by while a terrorist organization fires missiles on Tauranga or Hamilton? This is what is being asked of Israelis - to sit idly by while the residents of their southern town of Sderot are fired on by missiles from the terrorist organization Hamas. Let New Zealanders put themselves in the shoes of Israelis for just one day, without a vast ocean to protect them, without a democratic and secure neighbor like Australia, and with a terrorist organization mere miles away whose only reason for existing is their nation's destruction. Only then can democratic, informed debate happen.
  • Hamas in Gaza focuses its weaponry on civilians; on children in schools and kindergartens, on families' homes. They fire their missiles from deep within civilian neighborhoods, taunting Israeli Defense Forces to fire back, knowing that injury to the innocent people of Gaza would fuel their propaganda campaign. Israel acts only in self defense. When they do fire on Gaza it is merely in response to Hamas' missiles and they are focused on the militants themselves.
  • The people of Gaza are not the enemy, nor is there any benefit from Israel making them so. The people of Israel, in withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, sought to gain a democratic and secure neighbor, but Hamas increased violence from Gaza, including raids over the border into Israel to kill and kidnap Israeli soldiers.
  • Ever since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006, Israel and the international community - including the UN, EU, Russia and the U.S. - have put forth a consistent message: to end its isolation, Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to abide by previous agreements signed between Israel and the PA. These are not very difficult conditions. Indeed, they are the bare minimum that Israel should expect from a "partner for peace" or even a non-belligerent neighbor.

No comments: