WASHINGTON, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington affirms its solidarity with Israel in the aftermath of the recent violence instigated by the misnamed "Free Gaza" flotilla. Our community grieves for the recent loss of life that resulted from the actions of the flotilla participants and the larger tragedy of the region caused by Hamas' efforts to eliminate and delegitimize Israel. Hamas' violent take-over of Gaza after Israel withdrew from the territory, and Hamas' ensuing use of the Gaza strip as an armed base from which to launch rocket attacks against Israeli citizens, thwart Israeli and international efforts at bringing peace to the troubled region. Our hearts go out to the people of this region, and we stand with the state of Israel as it struggles to cope with those enemies of peace who refuse to permit Israel and its neighbors to live in peace.
As we are faced with the sometimes biased or confusing media reports in the coming hours and days, it is important to understand certain key facts.
- Hamas, which rules Gaza, is recognized by the international community as a terrorist organization. Hamas openly declares its intention and goal of annihilating Israel, and uses Gaza as a launching pad for war against Israel's citizens and against the peace process. The legal embargo on Gaza was necessary because of Hamas' use of incoming materials to wage war against Israeli civilians. The purpose of the IDF's acts was the enforcement of the lawful embargo established by Israel and Egypt against Hamas belligerents.
- Israel has worked consistently to ensure that genuinely humanitarian aid reaches the people of Gaza, who live under the iron fist of the repressive Hamas regime that cares more about waging war on Israel than it does about improving the lives of its people. Israel transfers about 15,000 tons of supplies and humanitarian aid every week to the people of Gaza.
- The true nature of the flotilla's organizers and intentions is clear. They ignored repeated warnings from the Israeli government intended to avoid violence and chose to refuse Israel's offer to ensure that the humanitarian aid on board these ships be routed to the people of Gaza after any non-humanitarian materials were removed. Unfortunately, the vessels coming from Turkey were not full of non-violent peace activists as they claimed.
- The loss of life that resulted from this lie is tragic, but it is unacceptable to blame the IDF for responding in kind to violent attacks. The acts of the IDF were acts of self-defense undertaken by courageous Israeli naval personnel against the armed assault of the violent activists onboard the Marmara. Israeli soldiers acted in self defense after being violently attacked by activists on the Mavi Marmara.
Our community continues to hope that those who are so adamantly opposed to peace with Israel will join with those who desire peace, and will cease taking actions designed to frustrate the cause of peace in the Middle East to which all reasonable people aspire.
SOURCE Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington