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The Daily TIP: U.S. State Department Condemns Hamas, Says “We Stand With Israel” on Gaza Attacks

Posted by Tip Staff - November 13, 2018

U.S. State Department Condemns Hamas, Says “We Stand With Israel” on Gaza Attacks
After Firing 460 Rockets and Mortars, Hamas Leader Says Gaza Ceasefire Possible
One Killed, Two Critically Injured as 460 Rockets from Hamas-controlled Gaza Hit Israel
OpenRestaurants Festival Returns to Jerusalem for Third Year

U.S. State Department Condemns Hamas, says “We Stand With Israel” on Gaza Attacks

As terrorists in Gaza continued Tuesday to launch rockets at Israel amid ongoing ceasefire mediation efforts, The United States Department of State slammed the terrorist group Hamas and reaffirmed that Israel has the right to defend itself, The Algemeiner reported.

“We are aware of reports of ongoing rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against targets in Israel,” a State Department official told JNS on Monday. “We condemn these attacks and call for their immediate halt. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”

Jason Greenblatt, The White House's special representative to the Middle East, had earlier condemned Hamas - which exercises complete political and military control over Gaza - in a tweet.

“Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war. These rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks,” Greenblatt said.

“Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas,” Greenblatt added.

Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, also reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defense. “When a terrorist organization on your border launches 300 rockets at your civilian population, you have to respond,” Shapiro said. “You are justified to respond. Wishing the people of southern Israel and Gaza a quiet night, with no Hamas rocket launches and no need to respond.”

Hamas’s dire strategic situation dictates its moves against Israel. The group wants to distract from the fact that it is directly responsible for the suffering of its own civilian population, wasting hundreds of millions in aid money on military infrastructure.

After weeks of sending masses of civilians into direct confrontation with Israel – including women children, even babies – to act as a buffer between its operatives trying to infiltrate the border, Hamas has resorted to previous tactics of firing directly on residents on the Gaza border.

After Firing 460 Rockets and Mortars, Hamas Leader Says Gaza Ceasefire Possible

The leader of Hamas said on Tuesday his group was open to the possibility of a ceasefire, after the terrorist group and its Iranian-backed allies had launched 460 rockets and mortars at Israeli border communities, Reuters reported.

“Should the Occupation (Israel) stop its aggression a return to the ceasefire understandings will be possible,” Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who repeatedly stated that Israel is doing everything in its power to avoid another Gaza war - convened his security cabinet to determine the next steps.

The seven-hour meeting on Tuesday afternoon ended with an order to the IDF to “continue its strikes” against terrorists in the Strip “as needed,” The Times of Israel reported. An unnamed minister, who attended the meeting, said that no vote was held on a possible Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas.

“Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators. Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [if a ceasefire will go into effect],” an Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Over the past several weeks, Israel has worked strenuously with the United Nations and Arab states to reach an “agreement” with Hamas, aimed at restoring calm along Israel’s southern border and easing the suffering of Gaza’s civilian population. However, just as a truce was in reach, Hamas and its terrorist allies launched a 460-rocket barrage at Israeli border communities.

In addition, Israel has demonstrated flexibility and immense restraint in the face of ongoing attacks and rioting. On November 8, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million in cash to Gaza to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants. The payment was the first installment of a total of $150 million the Qataris intend to send with Israel’s approval.

Despite hopes that the payment would prompt Hamas to maintain calm along the border, rioting continued November 9 with some 10,000 Palestinian participants.

One Killed, Two Critically Injured as 460 Rockets from Hamas-controlled Gaza Hit Israel

A man was killed in the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Monday by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, becoming the first civilian casualty of the most serious fighting between Israel and Hamas since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, The Times of Israel reported.

The 40-year-old man, a West Bank Palestinian living in Israel, was killed after a rocket fired from the Hamas-controlled territory scored a direct hit on an apartment building. Two women who were in the same building at the time of the incident are said to be in critical condition. In total, 58 Israelis have been hospitalized.

The Israeli military said around 460 rockets and mortars had been fired from Gaza since Monday afternoon with about 100 of them intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system. The heavy barrage of rockets marked the most serious escalation since an Israel-Hamas war in 2014, and one of the most intensive attacks against Israeli civilians in the country’s history.

Israel confirmed it destroyed over 150 militant targets belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza in response to the attacks. Targets included three attack tunnels, military compounds, observation posts, weapon manufacturing sites, and launch sites.

“There is ample room for additional targets,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson. “We have signaled to Hamas over the course of this night that we have the intelligence and ability to strike a variety of military targets that belong to Hamas.”

A Hamas spokesman said Monday that the Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashdod would be targeted next, if "Israel persisted in its aggression." The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad echoed the statement.

The Israeli army estimates that Hamas and its terrorist allies have around 20,000 mortars and rockets, meaning that they could continue firing projectiles at Israel at the current rate for weeks.

Israel has sent additional forces to the Gaza border but has not yet called up the reserves. Israel has shown – and continues to show – immense restraint, responding to ongoing attacks along the border with measured and carefully-targeted strikes. However, Israel is expected to expand its military operation, if these prolonged and intense efforts do not yield calm along the border and security for Israeli citizens.

OpenRestaurants Festival Returns to Jerusalem for Third Year

The urban culinary festival OpenRestaurants is returning to Jerusalem for the third year, beginning Tuesday until November 17.

One hundred events will showcase the aromas, sounds, and tastes of the city with the participation of cultural institutions, celebrity chefs, ingredient manufacturers, and of course some of Jerusalem’s most popular restaurants and eateries.

Chef Assaf Granit will host a tribute to 70 years of Israeli fashion and cuisine at the Israel Museum. There’ll be wine tasting and tapas at the Mamilla Hotel.

At the Yudal’e restaurant, chef Assaf Seri will host MasterChef winner Nof Atamna-Ismaeel. The “eclair king and queen” from Kadosh Café will concoct confections ranging from chocolate tuna cans to fish-shaped petit fours at the Israel Aquarium.

Chef Nadav Melin, in collaboration with the Slow Food movement, will present “Disco-Shuk” – a food, music, and love celebration – at Abraham Hostel. There will be a culinary project of ultra-Orthodox women, a vegan food and musical celebration at Nocturno bar-restaurant-café, and an Italian cooking demo by Father Severino and Italian chef Silvio Buttega from the Church of Saint John the Baptist.

New this year is a special offer from City Pass and the BiteMojo app enabling visitors to purchase a tasting pack at eateries and artisan food stands around the city’s light-rail stations, from the Damascus Gate station to Machane Yehuda Market, with free rides along the way.

(via Israel21c)

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