Tel Aviv, November 15, 2012
My dear chaverot,
As you already know, yesterday Israel launched a widespread campaign- the Pillar of Defence – that has two main goals to protect Israeli civilians and cripple the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza – in order to restore Israel’s deterrence on one hand and the peace and quiet for its residents in the South on the other. .
President Shimon Peres reiterated his support for the ongoing military operation in Gaza, saying “it was the right thing to do and it is being done correctly, I now of no other country that would have shown so much restraint in the face of continual Gaza rocket fire, Israel must protect its citizens”.
He added that the IDF was doing everything in its power to limit civilian casualties in Gaza. He concluded that Ahmed Jabari, the former chief of Hamas’ military wing who was killed in an Israeli airstrike Wednesday, was most responsible for the murder and kidnapping of innocent Israelis.
Since beginning its operation, the IDF has struck nearly 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, including several terrorist cells preparing to fire rockets at Israel and medium- and long range rocket launchers located across the Strip.
The fighting is not one sided. Well over 200 rockets have been fired into southern Israel since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense on yesterday.
More than 135 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip since midnight,- the IDF Spokesman’s Office said Thursday just prior to noon. The IDF Spokesman’s Office stated the Iron Dome rocket defense system has successfully intercepted 48 rockets since the operation began.
Rockets have targeted Ashdod, Gan Yavne, Ashkelon, Beersheba, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat and the Eshkol Regional Council.
Gaza-border communities are in lockdown, with residents ordered to remain in their homes if they live within 7 km. of Gaza. Schools within 40 km. of the Gaza Strip were declared closed today, and residents were urged to follow directives from the IDF Home Front Command. Explosions have been reported as far away as Dimona, some 75 km. from the Gaza Strip.
A rocket hit a four-story building in Kiryat Malachi earlier this morning killing 3 adults and injuring four – amongst them a four year old and a baby.
Seventy Israelis have been injured in rocket attacks since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, 16 rocket victims suffering bodily injuries were admitted to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, including a four-year-old child suffering moderate injuries. Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba has treated 12 people suffering bodily injuries, and 30 additional people suffering shock. An additional 12 people were admitted to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, two of whom suffered serious injuries.
Several of the injuries occurred while residents of the South were running to shelters. The residents have expressed their support for the campaign, saying that they are prepared for more days of discomfort if it results in peace and quiet and the restoration of normality – a routine life like the rest of the country.
The Israeli Cabinet also agreed that the IDF should continue to act against terrorist infrastructure and activity in Gaza. It instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin a diplomatic public relations campaign to explain that Israel was acting in self-defense against military targets, as the continued rocket barrage had become intolerable.
Furthermore, this morning the IDF dispersed leaflets above several locations in the Gaza Strip. These leaflets warn the residents of the Gaza Strip to stay away from Hamas and other terror organization operatives and facilities that pose a risk to their safety.
“Important announcement for the residents of the Gaza Strip:
For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety.
Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region. Israel Defense Forces Command.”
Yesterday, the UN Security Council agthered for an urgent meeting at the request of the Palestinians. No decisions or resolutions were taken and no statements made.
A few minutes ago, British Foreign Secretary William Hague denounced the barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian terror factions into Israel, saying “I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups .Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis,” Hague continued, adding that the rocket fire “creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza.”
I thank our Federations and donors for their benevolence that allowed our three WIZO projects in Sderot to be Kassam proof. Now we need your help to make sure that all our WIZO projects in the South be rocket proof.
Please include our brave soldiers and the residents of the South in your prayers.
Tova Ben Dov