Make no mistake, Israel will always defend itself

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to a wailing siren – your warning that in less than 15 seconds, your house could be destroyed.

Your body goes on autopilot, and sprints to the bomb shelter across the street.

You barely make it inside when you hear a loud “boom,” signifying that the rocket has struck a mere block away. Your body shakes uncontrollably, knowing that if you hadn’t left your bed mere seconds ago, you would not be alive right now.

Rocket attacks

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Now imagine millions of ordinary citizens subjected to this experience. As sirens wail and rockets explode with no end in sight, mothers grab screaming children off the playground, fathers body-shield their newborns on the side of the road, grandparents struggle to descend five floors – all in hopes of saving their and their families’ lives before the next rocket hits.

Now imagine homes and kindergartens destroyed, shattered glass and shrapnel flying in all directions, and ordinary citizens – like father of four Moshe Agadi, factory employee Ziyad  Alhamamdah, or a car driver – all killed, simply for being Israeli.

In the last week, the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organizations, which ruthlessly control the Gaza Strip, have fired over 650 rockets (true to Sunday, 16:30pm Israel time) from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities.

These terror organizations continue launching rockets with the aim to kill Israeli civilians, while firing them from the heart of Gaza’s population and using the local Gazan people as human shields – ensuring that every rocket fired constitutes a double war crime.

Israel has not had a presence in the Gaza Strip since 2005, and since a bloody coup in 2007, the Hamas terror organization has ruled the Gazan population with an iron fist.

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Held captive

The people of Gaza are being held captive under the murderous regime of Hamas and PIJ, and deserve to live without a terrorist dictatorship.

Yet as the terror organizations continue to commit war crimes against both Israel’s and Gaza’s population, the international community has been hesitant to call the aggressors by their name: Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The same moral compass must be applied to all violent dictators.

There is no justice in excusing the Hamas and PIJ brutality and oppression of the Gazan people, and their incessant terrorist activities.

In order to come closer to a peaceful resolution, democratic nations and champions of human rights have a moral obligation to call Hamas and PIJ what they truly are: terrorist organizations.

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As millions of Israeli citizens face the rocket onslaught from the Gaza Strip, Israel will continue protecting its citizens and ensuring their security – just as any democratic nation would do. The Iron Dome defense system has intercepted dozens of incoming rockets and saved many lives.

Israel’s strategy

While Hamas and PIJ continue launching rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities, Israel responded by targeting terrorists and destroying their terror infrastructure – including training bases, terror tunnels, and rocket launchers – while taking the utmost care to avoid civilian casualties.

The rocket fire from the Gaza Strip is robbing innocent Israeli and Gazan youth of their innocence – preventing students from going to school, participating in sports activities, and leading normal lives. Would anyone allow terrorists to dictate their life?

Mr Gendler is Ambassador of the State of Israel to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Seychelles

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IsraelPIJPalestinian Islamic JihadGaza Strip