After attack on Jews, Obama gives condolences to Palestinians
Woman killed, at least 38 wounded in attack at crowded Jerusalem bus stop
Posted: March 23, 2011
4:24 pm Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2011 WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – President Obama's official statement on today's bombing at a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem included a clause expressing his "deepest condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday."
The statement seems to draw a moral equivalence between today's attack in Jerusalem, in which Jewish civilians were targeted, and the death of four Palestinian civilians who were killed in an Israel Defense Force strike targeting a site used yesterday by militants in Gaza to launch mortars at nearby Jewish population centers.
Gazan terrorist groups routinely use civilian zones, including apartment buildings and hospitals, to launch rockets and mortars aimed at Jewish neighborhoods near the Gaza Strip.
The IDF said in a statement the army here believed it was targeting a terrorist rocket team and did not know civilians were in the area.
A 59-year-old woman was killed in today's blast in Jerusalem, with at least 38 people wounded in attack.
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The full White House statement from Obama following today's bombing read: "I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing in Jerusalem today, as well as the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in recent days. Together with the American people, I offer my deepest condolences for those injured or killed.
Continued the statement: "There is never any possible justification for terrorism. The United States calls on the groups responsible to end these attacks at once and we underscore that Israel, like all nations, has a right to self-defense.
"We also express our deepest condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday. We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties."
Today's bombing in Jerusalem took place at arguably the most crowded outdoor bus stop in the city, located in front of Jerusalem's convention center and just across the street from the city's main bus station.
The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and reportedly blew out the windows of two crowded buses. According to reports, the explosive device was apparently hidden in a bag next to a telephone pole beside the buses.
The attack in Jerusalem appeared to be coordinated with terrorists inside Gaza. It was carried out just hours after two long-range Iranian Grad-type rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, hitting the southern city of Be'er Sheva. Also today, a barrage of mortar shells were fired on the western Negev.
Since Saturday, terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 60 rockets at Israel, with Hamas claiming responsibility for some of the attacks. Usually, Hamas claims third-party groups in Gaza are behind such attacks.
The four Palestinian civilians referenced in Obama's statement were killed yesterday when Israel Defense Forces responded to rockets fired at Israeli territory from the northern Gaza Strip.
IDF forces fired at the point from which the rockets and mortars were launched into Israel. An IDF statement said the army believed it was targeting a terrorist rocket team and did not know civilians were in the area.
"The IDF regrets harming any uninvolved civilians but stresses that it is the Hamas terror organization which chooses to operate from the heart of civilian activity and uses people as a human shield," stated the IDF.
"The event is currently being investigated," the IDF statement added.
Obama's statement comes on a day the second-ranking House Republican had unusually harsh words for Obama, accusing the White House of endangering the Jewish state's security.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the only Jewish Republican in Congress, said in a statement: "The administration has called on Israel to make sweeping concessions that I believe will endanger its security, but it doesn't seem to demand similar from the Palestinians. No matter how much we desire Mideast peace, it will remain a pipe dream so long as Palestinian culture makes martyrs of terrorists who target innocents."
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