I am compelled to write to you for a second time in as many days regarding the deteriorating situation in southern Israel caused by unrelenting terrorist attacks.
Today, more than 60 rockets and mortars hit civilian oppulation centers, including the cities and towns of Ashkelon, Netivot and Sderot, as well as the kibbutzim of Nirim, Nahal Oz, and Kerem Shalom. These rockets and mortars have targeted civilians in private houses, public buildings, offices, playgrounds and other populated areas in a deliberate effort to sow death, terror and injury. Instead of gathering in celebration in town halls and community centers with family and friends for the annual Chanukah festival, the residents of southern Israel are compelled to gather in bomb shelters.
Let me also mention that today, more than 40 trucks laden with supplies were supposed to be transferred to the Gaza Strip on behalf of the world Food Programme, UNRWA, the Palestinian Ministry of Health and other agencies. However, as a direct result of today's dangerous onslaught of rockets and mortars, these transfers will not reach their intended destination. Clearly, it is Hamas who bears full responsibility for the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
While Israel is demonstrating remarkable restraint, Israel has - as I mentioned in my previous letter - the right to protect itself in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Israel has the right and duty to safeguard the lives, the security and the well-being of its citizens.
Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations