Tuesday, November 20, 2012

THE WORLD WATCHES AS CEASEFIRE LOOMS

Israeli soldiers lie on the ground as an Iron Dome missile is launched near the city of Ashdod, Israel, Monday Nov 19. 2012. 

This week we are watching with anguish the ongoing escalation between Israel, Hamas and militants taking place in Gaza and Israel.

My heart goes out to all those who are impacted by rockets, missiles and bombs flying and falling in this latest, familiar round of violence. I am urging President Obama and those in the international community to work diligently to achieve a ceasefire in this latest conflict.

Israel, like every other country in the world, has the right and obligation to defend itself against rocket fire and against those who refuse to recognize its right to exist in the Middle East.

Israeli forces are poised for a possible ground invasion of Gaza and rockets keep flying from Gaza to Tel Aviv and even Jerusalem. Israel needs long-term security but a ground invasion will not lead us any closer to two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and harmony. I believe that ground invasion will lead us farther away from peace.

In 2005 Israel uprooted all its citizens and handed Gaza over to the Palestinian people. Four years ago in Operation Cast Lead, Israel invaded Gaza because of rocket attacks on Israel's southern region. Operation Cast Lead did not make Israel more secure; in fact, I have seen many more powerful rockets falling deeper behind the green-line. Military actions may stop the rockets for a while, but it will make Israel more isolated and ostracized from the world.

Israel is facing a very grave threat to its survival as a Jewish state, and only a political resolution to the century-old conflict with the Palestinians that would result in two states living side by side in peace can end the conflict. Without that, in another couple of years we will be right back here again with more powerful rockets and more extreme forces from Gaza.

I would like to send a message to my friends and family in Israel: I love and care about you and can feel your pain from the terror that is erupting on your border. I support your right to respond to the unprecedented rocket fire, but a ceasefire for a few months is not enough. I would like to see a ceasefire that is permanent and will put an end to this deadly conflict.

I hope that President Obama will work on a new and aggressive effort to end this conflict in his second term. Without a serious and bold effort promoted by the President of the United States to achieve two states now, we may well witness the end of our dream for Israel to exist as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.

Yitzhak Rabin, a great Prime Minister of Israel once said: Enough of bloodshed!!

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