Hamas war on Israel. Members of the United Nations Security Council commend Israel on the innovative technology behind the Iron Dome missile defense system, which is proving so mercifully successful in intercepting relentless rocket salvoes fired indiscriminately at Israel’s citizens from the Gaza Strip.

The Council recognizes with profound dismay that the approximately 1,000 rockets launched at Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Strip over the past seven days were designed to kill and maim the people of Israel, and to terrorize the entire nation, in pursuit of Hamas’s hideous stated goal of destroying Israel. Members of the Council shudder at the thought of the widespread loss of life and devastation these hundreds of rockets were intended to cause, and would have caused, in the absence of the Israeli missile defense system. The Council cautions that terrorist organizations in Gaza and elsewhere can be relied upon to seek new means to wreak such devastation upon Israel and its people, including by evading Iron Dome and other defenses, and offers any assistance Israel may need in continuing to thwart such pernicious efforts.

Members of the Council express their dismay and regret, nonetheless, that some of those rockets have penetrated Israel’s defenses, causing injury and trauma, and profoundly empathize with Israelis, particularly in the south of the country, who have endured long years living in the shadow of such rocket fire.

The Council commends the professionalism and alertness of the Israel Defense Forces in thwarting several attempts by Hamas and other terror groups to infiltrate into Israel from the sea and carry out attacks on Israeli civilians. It further commends the IDF for spotting and destroying sophisticated tunnels, dug by Hamas and other Gaza terrorist organizations under the Gaza border with Israel with the aim of sending gunmen into Israel to kill and kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians, as has been the notorious Hamas practice in the past.

Members further lament that building supplies, allowed into Gaza by Israel for the well-being of the Gaza civilian populace, were instead diverted by Hamas and other terrorist organizations for the construction of these tunnels. Members further lament the diversion of such supplies for the construction of underground networks in Gaza in which Hamas and other terror groups conceal weaponry, install command and control centers, and safeguard their armed personnel. Members further lament the abuse by Hamas and other terrorist groups of electricity, supplied to the Gaza Strip by Israel, for the manufacture of rockets and other weaponry for use against Israel. Members regret irresponsible international pressure on Israel to lift its security blockade of Gaza, and acknowledge the imperative to control access of materials to the Gaza Strip so long as it is ruled by terrorist organizations who demonstrably abuse security breaches to import weapons and the means to manufacture weapons.

Members of the Security Council denounce the establishment in June of the so-called Palestinian Reconciliation Government, whose ministers were subject to the approval of Hamas, and whose formation is founded upon the support of Hamas, an internationally defined terrorist organization. The Council calls upon the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to disband this government, and cease all cooperation with Hamas.

The Council further expresses regret and dismay that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, advocated by the international community including members of this body, was not utilized by the Palestinian leadership to begin a process of responsible state-building, the rehousing of Palestinian refugees, and the gradual establishment of a peaceful relationship with neighboring Israel. The Council recognizes that Israel maintains no military or civilian presence in the Gaza Strip, and condemns terrorist organizations in Gaza for their relentless efforts to undermine the stability and security of Israel.

International response. The Council regrets the many expressions of international hostility to Israel that mistake aggressor and victim, and urges such critics to internalize that Israel has no territorial dispute with Gaza, and that it would not be required to employ military power to thwart rocket attacks if those attacks were not taking place and if those behind those attacks did not exploit periods of calm between such attacks to rearm and expand their capacity to harm Israel.

The Council reserves harsh criticism for those many in the international community who have misguidedly pointed to ostensible imbalances between Israel and Gaza in noting that while Israelis are largely protected from Hamas rockets by “safe rooms,” alarm systems and missile defense networks, the Palestinians of Gaza enjoy none of these protections. Members regret the need to point out that while the Israeli government acts responsibly to keep its citizens safe by these and other means, Gaza’s ruling terrorist organizations dedicate their resources to the manufacture of weaponry whose only conceivable address is Israel, and moreover emplace that weaponry adjacent to the civilian populace, thereby deliberately and cynically endangering that populace when they fire at Israel. The Council regrets the failure of too many in the international community to recognize such palpable truths, and frankly finds itself mystified by such failure.

The Council emphasizes that the loss of life in Gaza is the sole responsibility of Hamas, and rejects attempts to place blame upon Israel for the military actions it is forced to take in order to protect its people. Members of this Council deeply regret the heartrending loss of life, injury and devastation in Gaza, and urge Israel to continue to do everything in its power to minimize the civilian casualties that result from its efforts to halt the indiscriminate fire of rockets against its people. But this Council firmly rejects the attempt to exploit the suffering of Gazans, as a consequence of Hamas’s cynical use of Gaza’s residents as human shields for its rocket-launchers and other aggressions, as a tool to demonize Israel.

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Peace and diplomacy. Members of this Council recognize Israel’s desire to live in peaceful, tranquil relations with its immediate neighbors and with other regional states, and empathize with Israel’s difficulties in forging such ties, particularly but not solely when the Gaza precedent of territorial withdrawal has yielded ongoing terrorism against its people.

The Council appreciates Israel’s acute dilemmas when it considers the possibility of territorial accommodation with the Palestinians in the West Bank. The Council defers to Israel’s judgment as it seeks to balance its imperative to maintain the Jewish and democratic nature of its state, with the imperative to maintain the security of that state. The Council is ready and willing to assist Israel in any way Israel deems helpful in resolving such dilemmas, including by seeking to advance improved relations with Israel among other members of the United Nations. Members of the Council believe that Israel’s expansion of settlements in West Bank areas it does not envisage as part of its permanent state is counterproductive to Israel’s own declared interests, and Members are disappointed at the failure of US-brokered efforts to advance toward a negotiated solution with the Palestinian Authority.

Islamic extremism. This Council is cognizant that recent events in the region have demonstrated the ease with which Islamic extremist organizations exploit power vacuums, and impose brutal rule in areas where they attain control. This Council expresses shock at the facility with which such groups — notably including the so-called Islamic State — can impose themselves at short notice with devastating effect. This council acknowledges its own demonstrable impotence in the face of these radical Islamist forces. It empathizes with Israel as the only dependable bulwark against such extremism in the region, and pledges support for Israel in the struggle against Islamist terrorism.

Iranian nuclear program. Members of this Council further recognize Israel’s concern that Iran, a known and ongoing champion of Islamist terrorism, is pursuing nuclear weapons, while frequently expressing hostility to Israel and the desire to see its elimination. This Council pledges to utilize its not inconsiderable authority and leverage to ensure that Iran, so long as it is governed by an Islamic extremist regime, is denied the capacity to build nuclear weapons.

Syrian civil war. This Council further acknowledges its lamentable failure to muster sufficient international will to stop the horrifying killings that have taken place, and continue to take place, in Syria, where in excess of 160,000 people have died in the civil war. It commends Israel for its humanitarian outreach to victims of the Syrian civil war, which has seen large numbers of casualties given treatment at the field hospital Israel maintains on its border with Syria, and hundreds more brought into Israel’s hospitals for treatment. The Council notes Israel’s track record of extending emergency assistance to victims of natural and other disasters worldwide.

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Intolerance and incitement. Members of the Council register their dismay at the expressions of delight and celebration recorded in the Gaza Strip over the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, and sadly acknowledge that its various organizations active in the region have proved incapable of fostering the widespread inculcation of moderate and constructive values. It particularly regrets the ongoing hatred for the Jewish state and Jewish people that is widespread in the Palestinian areas and, indeed, across the Arab world, as starkly highlighted in a number of recent surveys and research projects. It notes with dismay the rise in hate crimes against Muslims and Christians by Jewish extremists in Israel, and welcomes Israeli assurances that efforts are being made by the Israeli authorities to prevent such attacks and prosecute those responsible. The Council has previously addressed the brutal killing of three abducted Israeli teenagers in June, allegedly by Hamas terrorists, and the brutal apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager, allegedly by Jewish terrorists.

The Council will henceforth direct additional resources to fostering moderate educational curricula in the Palestinian areas, and do its utmost to discourage anti-Semitic sentiment in Palestinian media, schools and religious institutions. The Council will further, with immediate effect, direct resources toward the rehousing of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, recognizing that the refugee camps perpetuate hostility to Israel and constrain the possibility of more constructive relations.

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Operative conclusion. Finally, this council calls for an immediate and unconditional halt to the rocket fire by Hamas and other Gaza terrorists groups at Israel, and the dismantling of such groups’ military capabilities. It does so confident that such steps are the only guaranteed means to begin the process of rehabilitation in Gaza, and to ensure the calm and security due to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples alike.