FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 30, 2008
REMARKS BY MAYOR BLOOMBERG AFTER BRIEFING BY ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL IN NEW YORK ASAF SHARIV UPON THE CONSUL'S RETURN FROM ISRAEL
Following are the Mayor's remarks delivered at City Hall
"Well good afternoon. I just wanted to welcome the president of the JCRC, Janice Shorenstein. And it's executive director is your title, you do all the work. Michael Miller, who has been a friend for an awful long time. And particularly it is an honor to welcome to City Hall the Consul General of Israel, Asaf Shariv. Mr. Consul General, welcome.
"He is a new Consul General to our city. For how long? A year and is doing a great job. The Consul General, you should know, just returned from a trip to Israel and he came here to brief me on the situation there and in Gaza. I saw him last week under some more pleasant circumstances, at a Menorah lighting.
"Unfortunately, the peace of the holiday season for Jews, Christians, and Muslims has been broken, by Hamas's decision to end its ceasefire with Israel. As you know, I have strongly condemned those actions and am very concerned about the deteriorating situation there.
"As I said yesterday, Israel has a right and an obligation to defend itself against deadly attacks and I can only think what would happen in this country if somebody was lobbing missiles onto our shores or across a border. We would respond as aggressively and as vigorously as Israel has done. I happen to think they're doing the right thing.
"Hamas's decision to end the cease fire and attack Israel, I think, was a terrible mistake and its leaders are responsible for the consequences of that action. They are responsible for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and they can't walk away from that fact.
"New Yorkers know the pain and suffering that terrorism brings and we also know the kind of strength and resilience that is required to defeat terrorists. And I have always felt that New Yorkers and Israelis share a special bond. We both face the most serious terrorist threats and we're both determined to defend our freedom, our security, and our way of life.
"The Bush Administration has properly supported Israel's right to defend itself and to insist that Hamas must end its terrorist attacks against Israel so a ceasefire can be restored.
"This is a difficult time, I know, for Israelis and Palestinians both. We certainly mourn the loss of any innocent civilians and my thoughts and prayers are with those families that are affected. Innocent Palestinians and innocent Israelis are being killed and it is all because of a handful of terrorists for their own selfish political objectives. It is an outrage and I think we all owe a great debt to those who are willing to put their lives on the line anyplace in this world and fight for peace.
"I just came from a Police Department graduation. Mr. Consul General, you should know we just graduated 1,129 new police officers into the NYPD. Their job is to protect us here from threats on the streets and also from threats around the world. We certainly are cognizant of what the Israeli people must feel like. Here we are always worried about our security and we're taking steps to make sure that people here are secure and I think Israel is doing the right thing."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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