Saturday, January 17, 2009

AJC Declares Support for Israel Cease-Fire Decision

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC supports Israel's announcement of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. The announcement followed a three-week operation launched in direct response to the repeated firing of missiles by terrorists from Gaza into southern Israel.

"We stand with Israel in its decision to announce a cease-fire," said David A. Harris, AJC Executive Director. "We express our appreciation to Egypt for its role in enabling the cease-fire. And we note with satisfaction that a key factor was the pact signed between the United States and Israel in Washington yesterday to work jointly towards preventing the smuggling of weapons, overwhelmingly from Iran and Syria, into Gaza."

"One million Israelis have lived each day within range of Hamas rocket attacks, something my colleagues and I experienced first-hand during AJC's Solidarity Mission to Israel last week," Harris added. "Hamas threatens to continue its attacks. We trust that Hamas now understands the price it will pay for further attacks, having witnessed the skill, courage and determination of Israel's armed forces. We mourn the loss of innocent lives during the recent clashes, while placing the onus on Hamas for triggering the war and callously placing civilians in harm's way."

"Regrettably, Hamas continues to threaten Israel with further terrorist attacks," said Harris. "We call on the international community to continue to isolate Hamas until it meets the three conditions for engagement set by the Quartet -- recognition of Israel's right to exist, renunciation of violence, and acceptance of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements."

The cease-fire announcement followed a vote of Israel's Cabinet on Saturday night. The Israel Defense Forces will cease operations at 2 a.m. local time.

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