NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is urging the international community to join together in backing Israel's right to defend and protect its citizens against Hamas. The United States and Canada today expressed unqualified support for Israel, while sharply criticizing Hamas. But the UN Security Council, meeting in emergency session last night in New York could not agree on a statement of concern.
"The inability of too many world leaders to distinguish between the arsonist, Hamas, and the firefighter, Israel, is gross negligence," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "No UN member state can honestly say it would respond differently to a neighbor dedicated to its annihilation and launching rockets to provoke a larger confrontation."
The U.S. "supports Israel's right to defend itself," said the U.S. State Department. "There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel… Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza."
Canada's foreign minister, John Baird, agreed. "We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats," he said. "Far too often, the Jewish people find themselves on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism."
This week alone, hundreds of rockets launched by Hamas and its kindred spirits in Gaza have landed in southern Israel. Three Israelis were killed in a rocket attack earlier today on an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi, and more than 70 have been wounded in several communities in the region.
Many reportedly were injured while attempting to reach bomb shelters. "Israel deserves deep empathy as one million of its citizens have been forced to stand by within 15 seconds of the nearest bomb shelter, not knowing when the next Hamas attack will arrive. Schools have been closed and daily life disrupted," said Harris.
"Coddling Hamas, recognized by the U.S. and European Union as a terrorist organization, does not advance the cause of peace," said Harris.
"To the contrary, the international community has not taken seriously enough the combustible mix of Hamas hatred of Israel and the group's accumulation of more and more sophisticated rockets, including ones that today reportedly can reach Tel Aviv." Harris added. "Those truly concerned for Israel's security and the cause of peace must stand up and speak with unambiguous moral clarity. The rapidly escalating situation demands no less."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee