IMPORTANT RELEASE SIGNED BY:
• Alejandro Toledo, former Peruvian President.
• Luis Alberto Lacalle, former Uruguayan President.
• Carlos Alberto Montaner, Cuban writer and journalist.
• John R. Bolton, former USA Ambassador to UN.
• Giulio Terzi, former Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
• Richard Kemp, former British Army Colonel.
• Andrew Roberts, British historian and writer.
• Roberto F. Agostinelli, Rhône Group, Rhone Capital’s executive director.
• Fiamma Nirenstein, Italian politician, writer, and journalist.
• Carlos Bustelo, former Spain’s Industry Ministry.
Having Chile, Ecuador, Peru, El Salvador and Brazil, announced to withdraw their ambassadors, and by Bolivia’s classification of Israel as a "Terrorist State", the undersigned believe that the manipulation of information in Latin America about the current conflict in Gaza not only intoxicates people’s minds but also encourages wrong and reprehensible policy.
It is certainly regrettable that once more the Middle East suffers another war, because every war brings pain, destruction and death. Mistakes always occur and many innocent civilians end up paying the consequences of the decisions of those doing the fighting. In that sense, nothing we would like more than that hostilities would end, and human suffering would alleviate as soon as possible.
That is why we declare the following:
1. - Israel has not started this war. The State of Israel is responding to the rain of rockets and mortar rounds that it gets each day from Gaza. Three young men were abducted and killed. Dozens of rockets were fired BEFORE the Government of Jerusalem decided to defend itself militarily. In this war’s three weeks, more than 3,000 rockets have been launched against the Israeli population by HAMAS.
2. - Hamas is not an NGO, is a terrorist organization, declared as such by the Government of the United States and by the European Union. The founding Charter of Hamas, fully in force, calls for the annihilation of Israel and the death of all Jews.
3. - Hamas used its rockets precisely as an instrument of terror, since they are not directed against military targets but indiscriminately against urban centers on Israeli soil. If they have not caused more victims and destruction is thanks to the effectiveness of the "Iron Dome" anti-missile system and to the insufficient precision of many of them. Indeed, a significant number of those rockets just impacted in the Gaza Strip itself.
4. - Hamas uses Palestinian civilians to hide itself. Its operatives and militia not only do not carry any combat badge, they deliberately take advantage of civilian installations, schools, hospitals and mosques. The U.N. refugee agency has admitted that three of its schools had been used as a weapons store. Moreover, these arsenals were protected with booby traps, as a result of which three Israeli soldiers were killed. Why the United Nations’ authorities in Gaza have allowed it or have not denounced it in time is something that the international community should clarify as soon as possible.
5. – Up to now, the Israeli aim was two-fold. On the one hand, eliminate rocket launchers, so that its citizens do not live pending of alarms, having to run to shelters almost constantly. On the other hand, destroy the extensive network of underground tunnels that Hamas has built to infiltrate Israeli soil and commit their attacks, kidnappings and terror actions. There is no massive bombardment on Gaza or invasion of the Strip. Ground operations have been maintained within a thin lane of less than 2 km.
6. - While Israel accepted the peace plan formulated by Egypt, Hamas has rejected any possibility of a truce and systematically violated each temporary agreement on humanitarian grounds of ceasefire. It is not Israel which is opposed to peace; on the contrary, its purpose is to be able to live in peace and not under a rain of Hamas’ bombs and missiles. As it is clear for everyone: Israel has never begun nor caused the wars, just - within its legitimate right- defended its citizens, who have had, practically every day, run to anti-missile shelters that Israel had to invest on for its defense, unlike HAMAS, which has invested its resources and donations received with the "humanitarian" title, to launch indiscriminate attacks against women, children, and civilian men of Israel.
7. – We the undersigned are fully aware of the harm and suffering that the war causes, but also that, to avoid a new conflict in the area within a few months, any ceasefire that reward the armed aggression by Hamas, is, politically, a mistake. If they really seek peace, the infrastructure of terror - tunnels, rockets, weapons factories-- has to be dismantled in Gaza. There is no other alternative. The United Nations or the international community could do that, but at the moment only Israel is willing to carry it out, for its very existence depends on it.
8. - The terrorist presence affects not only Israel or the Jewish people. Most Arab countries also want the disappearance of the terrorist group Hamas. Numerous sources have thus made it clear. Insofar as the Palestinian Islamists respond to Iran’s designs, their threat is also globally, against Europe, United States, and Latin America, who have already suffered in their own flesh the blow of Islamic terror.
9. - Finally, to the signatories, it seems a total aberration to morally equate the two disputing sides, because on one side are the terror, the fanatical Islamist tyranny, and HAMAS’ cult of death using children and citizens (as human shields) to protect its missiles, while on the other, are freedom, prosperity, and the defense of the life of the only democratic country in the region that is ISRAEL, and which uses its missiles (of its "Iron Dome" system) to protect its children and citizens...This is the big difference.... Barbarism and civilization cannot be put on the same plane.