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13 November 2019
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, has condemned the ongoing rocket attacks from terrorist groups in Gaza aimed at civilian targets in Israel, including major population centres in Tel Aviv and in central and southern Israel.
“These rocket attacks were occurring before yesterday’s killing of Baha Abu al Ata, a senior commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and they have continued since”, said ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim. “The claim being made by some groups and media outlets that the firing of rockets at Israeli cities has only commenced in response to the killing is a blatant falsehood”.
“It was al-Ata who ordered the rocket attack towards a music festival in Sderot on August 25, and a further rocket attack against that city as recently as November 1”, Wertheim noted. “Al-Ata was personally responsible for terrorist activity, including rocket and sniper attacks, aimed at Israeli civilians over a long period of time. The IDF had intelligence that he was about to order another such attack. Under international law, Israel has the right to defend itself against an imminent attack of this nature, and it has a duty to its citizens to do so”.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in its entirety, is listed as a terrorist organisation under Australia’s Criminal Code. It receives directions and much of its funding, weaponry and training from the Iranian regime and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. It is openly committed to the military destruction of Israel.
“Like other Palestinian terrorist groups, Palestinian Islamic Jihad deliberately targets Israeli civilians while ensconcing its own terrorists in high density civilian areas in Gaza, in order to use Palestinian civilians as human shields”, Wertheim said. “That constitutes a double war crime – deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, and deliberately putting Palestinian civilians in harm’s way”.
We express our solidarity with the people of Israel in this difficult time and call on Australian politicians to condemn without equivocation or delay these gross violations by the Palestinians of the laws and norms of armed conflict and international humanitarian law. 2
We also call upon all sections of the media to report accurately on the targeting of civilians in Israel by Palestinian terrorist organisations in rocket attacks, as and when they occur, and not merely on Israel’s response to them.