Israel Launches Defensive Operation Pillar of Defense ("Amud Anan")
· Israel has launched defensive operation Pillar of Defense in response to the ongoing Hamas assault on Israel's civilian population.
· Israel is acting in self defence and out of our duty to protect our citizens from harm.
o Israel has responded with great restraint but cannot and will not accept the constant firing from Gaza of rockets and mortars on our civilian population.
o Israel has warned for many weeks that the ongoing attacks are untenable and will require action on Israel's part.
o In the absence of action by the international community to bring Hamas to end its attacks on Israel's citizens, Israel has no choice but to act itself.
· The objectives of operation Pillar of Defence are clearly defined and aimed at removing the strategic threat posed from Gaza to Israel's citizens.
o Israel is not seeking to escalate the situation, quite the opposite.
o Israel's strikes have been pinpoint and accurate, with minimum collateral damage.
o Israel is prepared to launch a ground operation if continued Hamas attacks make that necessary, but that is not our intention
o The targets of the Israeli operation are all military. Israel will make every effort to prevent harm to the civilian population of Gaza, and regrets any injury to civilians that results from its defensive actions.
· Hamas rules Gaza and bears full responsibility for the attacks launched at Israel from that territory.
· The border crossings from Israel to the Gaza Strip remain open, allowing for the routine passage of goods and humanitarian aid.
· For the third time in the past month, Israel's civilian population has been subject to a barrage of rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
· The latest round began last Saturday afternoon with a deliberate attack on an Israeli military vehicle followed by the shooting of over 120 rockets into Israel's southern communities.
· Since the beginning of 2012, over 800 separate rockets have been launched at Israel's southern communities, endangering and traumatizing a population of one million civilians. This number of rockets represents a steep escalation to pre-2008 levels by the terrorist organizations operating out of Gaza.
· Israel ended its military and civilian presence in Gaza in 2005. In the intervening years, Hamas, with Iranian assistance, has turned Gaza into a a breeding ground for Islamist violence and an ongoing terrorist assault on innocent Israeli civilians
· Background on Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing killed today in Israel's pinpoint strike:
o Jabari, 52, a resident of Gaza, was involved in military activity from the early 1980s and served until his death as the senior military commander of Hamas. In the past he was close to Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin and operated under his patronage. Jabari started his military career in Fatah and took part in a number of terrorist attacks on Israeli targets. For these activities he was imprisoned in Israel for thirteen years, serving a sentence from 1982 until his release in January 1995.
o Already in 1995 Jabari began to manage an association for the support and benefit of Hamas prisoners and up until today managed the Nur Association for the aid of released Hamas prisoners, which was under the auspices of Sheikh Yassin. In this role he managed a huge system of financial transfers to support Hamas inmates and their families and the families of killed terrorists.
o While in prison, Jabari's views became more extreme. He joined the Hamas organization and served as the representative of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad prison inmates. His years in prison, his extreme views and his prison activities assured Jabari of a senior position in the Hamas leadership upon his release.
o Since his release from prison, Jabari was involved in various activities and senior positions in the Hamas organization. He simultaneously served as the senior military commander, directed terrorist cells throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and was involved in arms smuggling, as well as fulfilling various organizational positions in the movement.
o As part of the top military echelon, he was involved in promoting and implementing a series of major terror attacks.