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PR- 249-06
July 17, 2006


"Israel rightly continues to defend itself from unprovoked attacks on innocent civilians, and the killing and abduction of Israeli soldiers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.  Let there be no doubt: Hamas and Hezbollah must return the Israeli soldiers they abducted and cease their attacks against Israel.

"I have said time and again that you cannot negotiate when there is a gun to your head.  The international community needs to send a clear message to these terrorist organizations - and the countries that fund and support their reign of terror - that these kinds of attacks on peaceful, democratic nations will not be tolerated.  The international community cannot be fooled into thinking that they are immune from what is happening in the Middle East - as evidenced by what took place here in New York City in September 2001, what happened in London's subway system just one year ago and most recently, the bombings on the trains in Mumbai, India.

"I commend President Bush and his cabinet for their continued support of Israel and its right to defend itself.  I deeply hope that the fighting will end soon, and that all the innocent people affected by this conflict will again be safe.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those soldiers who have fallen in combat, the brave sons and daughters of Israel who are defending Israel's freedom at this very moment, and with the people of Israel who are an inspiration to all of us as they continue to go about their lives in the face of such uncertainty.

"I have always believed that the fate of Israel and the future of New York City are deeply connected.  If Israel's democracy is compromised, so too are our freedoms here at home.  A strong Israel means a strong America and a strong New York.  And as Americans and New Yorkers, we must continue to stand with Israel as we have done for the past 58 years, and we must never lose our hope for peace."


Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

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