In the wake of around 200 rockets fired into Israel since yesterday, injuring several Israelis, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today condemned Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for their “blatant war crimes” and “callous contempt for human life” – while also pointing a finger at Iran for inflaming the current conflict as part of its “program of aggression and encirclement against Israel.”
AIJAC’s Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM said, “Once again, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have resorted to the blatant war crime of firing rockets and mortars in large numbers at civilian areas, again demonstrating a callous contempt for human life – not only Israeli, but also among the Palestinians of Gaza they purport to lead.”
“While some will attempt to claim that Israel started the violence by killing Islamic Jihad military commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, this is not only an example of false moral equivalency, but misrepresents the real triggers that led to the current violence. Israeli intelligence says Abu al-Ata was in the midst of preparing a new major campaign of violence when he was killed. That was the initial escalation, not Israel’s efforts to pre-empt this violence by targeting him,” he added.
“Furthermore, there is no question that under the laws of war, as a military commander, Abu al-Ata was a combatant and therefore a completely legitimate military target – in stark contrast to the blatant war crimes of the rocket attacks launched against Israeli civilians from Gaza.
“Finally, no one should neglect Iran’s central role behind the scenes in igniting this escalation. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran – armed, trained, financed and commanded by Teheran. It is known that Iran has recently been pushing PIJ to dramatically escalate violence from Gaza against Israel, with Abu al-Ata one of its key agents for doing so. So the current violence should be seen as part of a larger Iranian program of aggression and encirclement against Israel – stretching across Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, as well as Gaza,” Dr. Rubenstein concluded.