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Press Release – 15 May 2008

State Zionist Council of Victoria deplores deliberate Palestinian targeting of
Israeli civilians at Ashkelon shopping centre

Melbourne’s Jewish community celebrated the 60 year anniversary since the establishment of the State of Israel this week.

In Israel, however, the 14th of May was marked by a Palestinian grad rocket being aimed squarely at Israeli civilians in Ashkelon and hitting a crowded shopping centre, wounding at least 30 people.

Israel radio reported at 7pm that the rocket wounded 5 people seriously, including a mother and her two year old daughter who were in a medical clinic at the time of the attack. Many of the injured were children. The rocket ripped through the roof of the mall, causing extensive damage and burying many shoppers under piles off rubble.

The Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack was also praised by Gaza’s ruling party Hamas.

Dr Danny Lamm, President of the State Zionist Council of Victoria  deplored the attack, saying today “Hamas, backed by Iran, is holding the Gaza Strip hostage. As long as Hamas and their proxies continue to deliberately target innocent Israeli civilians as they go about their daily lives, it is choking the notion of Palestinian statehood. How can Israelis be open to the idea of co-existing with a Palestinian state when the Palestinian leadership is clearly focused on killing and terrorising them, instead of developing their statehood?”

“Let us not forget that this is just the latest attack after 7 years of rocket attacks on southern Israel, first on the town of Sderot and the Western Negev and now more recently, the circle of terror has widened to Ashkelon, also the very source of electricity to the Gaza Strip” Dr Lamm noted.

In this most recent escalation of deadly rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at civilian population centres in southern Israel, 69-year-old Shuli Katz was killed on Monday in Moshav Yesha, and Jimmy Kedoshim was killed last Friday outside his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, while tending to his garden.

Israel’s English daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post today reported, that the Palestinian  Authority and Hamas have pledged that they will never give up the right of return for Palestinians to live in Israel.            

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas joined dozens of Palestinians in signing a document pledging to continue to struggle until Palestinians refugees are permitted to return, flying in the face of 15 years of peace negotiations with Israel which stipulates 2 states for 2 people.

For more information contact:

State Zionist Council of Victoria President, Dr Danny Lamm 0408-408-929
State Zionist Council of Victoria Executive Director, Ginette Searle 9272-5544

The State Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel.

For more information, please visit the State Zionist Council of Victoria website