Israel on the defensive after fierce criticisms

Israel on the defensive after fierce criticisms

Israel on the defensive after fierce criticisms

Flames erupt from a building hit by an Israeli air strike on July 9, 2014 in Gaza City. AFP Photo

Israel showed great restraint during its three weeks of continuous rocket fire from Gaza and its measured response was intended to restore the calm without major military action, a written statement by the Israeli Embassy said on July 10.  

However, in response to the “incessant attacks” by Hamas on the civilian population of Israel, the government of Israel decided on July 7 to initiate “Operation Protective Edge,” said the embassy.

“Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip fire on communities inside Israel with the intention of killing civilians. They also do not hesitate to launch rockets from the midst of Palestinian civilian concentrations, thereby cynically using Gaza residents as human shields for their terrorist activities,” read the statement.

The embassy also refuted the blockade on Gaza Strip and said goods enter and exit the Gaza Strip freely as long as Hamas rocket fire does not prevent it. “For example, on July 6, 137 trucks carrying goods and 218 tons of gas entered Gaza from Israel,” read the statement.

“Israel acted swiftly and determinedly” to locate and arrest the murderers of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the statement said citing to the killing of a Palestinian child in response to the murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Strong expressions of condemnation were heard across the political spectrum, including from the Rachel Frenkel, the mother of one of the murdered Israeli teenagers, the embassy stated. Some 40 percent of the Israeli population – approximately 3.5 million people – is currently in range of the rockets from Gaza, the embassy stated, noting Hamas bears responsibility for the escalation.  

The embassy statement comes amid fierce criticism from Turkish leaders on Israel for launching military operations on Palestinians.

Israel’s aggression against Palestinians is unacceptable, Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler said on July 9, and urged the United Nations Security Council to take a step on the issue.

Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip killed 20 people on July 10, including four women and four children, medics said, on the third day of an expanding military operation.

The deaths toll has risen to 70 among the number of Palestinians killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 to halt rocket fire from the besieged territory.

There have been no Israeli deaths so far, but Hamas demonstrated its firepower through launching waves of rockets across Israel that triggered sirens in cities as far from Gaza as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.