Elected Officials and Consul General Shacham spoke at the Solidarity With Israel rally held Sunday, November 25th.
Stand with Israel Rally, Miami 25 Nov 2012
Speech by Consul General Chaim Shacham
Israel desires peace.
Israel will negotiate peace, even with bitter enemies, if they understand that peace does not include Israel's destruction.
But with enemies like Hamas, who are dedicated to Israel's destruction, and who have bombarded its cities with thousands of rockets, Israel is left only to defend its citizens the best it can.
Hamas, emboldened by the radical Islamist changes in the Arab world, and thinking that Israel would be afraid to respond, started launching ever increasing rocket barrages against Israel's cities. In the face of mounting casualties and destruction, Israel showed restraint. Yet two weeks ago, Hamas fired over a hundred unprovoked rockets in two days. Enough was enough.
Hamas was surprised. Israel's response was powerful, yet precise. 30 senior terrorist commanders were eliminated, including Ahmed Jabari, the leader of the Hamas military arm. Thousands of rockets were intercepted or destroyed on the ground, including the long range Fajr rockets smuggled in from Iran. And dozens of Hamas command centers, installations and smuggling tunnels were put out of action.
Three important lessons were learned:
- First, the Israeli home front is resilient. Although 4 million Israelis were sent to shelters, there was neither protest nor panic. Thousands more reservists reported for duty than were actually called up. And the economy marched on, Israeli stock market went up and the shekel gained strength. This is a clear message to the region – Israel, and its people, are not softies!
- Second, the world clearly accepted Israel's right to defend itself, and rejected Hamas attacks against civilians. No UN Security Council condemnation, instead, clear statements from the European Union and other countries of the free world legitimizing Israel's action, and even Egypt pressured Hamas to stop firing at Israel and was instrumental in achieving a balanced cease-fire.
- Third, Israel is way ahead of its enemies, and gaining distance, thanks to her closest ally, the United States. The big star of this operation was the Iron Dome. A revolutionary anti-missile system, it detected, tracked, identified rockets headed towards cities, and intercepted them head on. It had a success rate of 90%. Of the 1500 rockets fired by Hamas, only 58 landed in urban areas. This is a game-changer. Not just for Israel, but for all nations wishing to defend their citizens from terrorist attack. Israel has re-written the laws of nature: No longer is it true that "what goes up, must come down". Especially if it’s a Hamas rocket. Invented, developed and manufactured by Israel, this system would have been impossible without the generous support of the American taxpayer, the Congress and the Administration which has assisted in funding the program. Every Israeli is grateful for this US aid. It is a prime example of the best our partnership has to offer. It made a costly and dangerous ground operation less necessary, saved countless lives, and advanced the security of Israel and the United States alike.
I would like to conclude by thanking you all here today, who, through their support of Israel, have made the Israel-US partnership so strong, a partnership which protects innocent lives, and strengthens the prospects of peace for the entire region. Thank you.
The Miami Herald reported on the Israel Solidarity Rally Sunday evening.
Click here to read the Miami Herald Article about the Israel Solidarity Rally