Statement On Flotilla to Gaza
Our community grieves this most recent loss of life in the Middle East which, like so many others before it, has as its direct cause the refusal of certain forces to end their state of war with Israel. Hamas’ determination to persist in its declared effort to eliminate Israel, and to maintain the Gaza Strip as an armed base from which to conduct its campaign of elimination, continues to bring no end of tragedy to the people of this region, and to frustrate hopes for peace at every turn. Hamas’ unwillingness to make peace with Israel, and to make Gaza a place of opportunity rather than a place of war, continues unabated and so, too, does the loss of life for which Hamas is responsible. Our hearts go out to the people of this region, and we stand with the state of Israel as it struggles and struggles again to cope with those who, regrettably, refuse to permit Israel and its neighbors to live in peace.
Certain fundamental points are of critical importance. First, Hamas, which rules Gaza with an iron hand, is recognized by the international community as a terrorist enterprise, and one which has pledged itself to the annihilation of Israel and the torpedoing of peace. Second, Hamas insists on using Gaza as an armed base from which to wage war on Israel and, for that matter, on the peace process. Third, it is Hamas and its allies who have necessitated the embargo on the Gaza Strip, which has as its purpose stopping the flow of materials used to launch attacks on Israeli civilian centers.
Fourth, Israel works on a daily basis to ensure that aid that is genuinely humanitarian in nature reaches the civilians of Gaza, who are effectively held hostage by a repressive regime which cares more about waging war on Israel than it does about improving the lives of its people. And finally, the organizers of the flotilla involved in today’s incident, who ignored repeated warnings from the Israeli government intended to avoid violence, 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. Sadly, this speaks volumes about the real nature of this flotilla.
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.
Barry Shrage, President Nancy Kaufman, Executive Director
Brad Bloom, Chair Stuart Rossman, President