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A dovish pro-Israel group called on President Bush to press Israel to deal with Hamas. “Israel has a clear obligation to defend its citizens from Hamas’ Kassam rockets,” said a statement released Sept. 28 by Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. “But we are fearful that continuing to escalate its military confrontation with Hamas in Gaza will have the opposite effect, triggering a resumption of horrific suicide bombings within Israel, a protracted and costly military presence in Gaza, and the loss of life on both sides.” The statement noted that Israel already held indirect talks with Hamas to try to gain the release of Gilad Shalit, the soldier captured by Hamas-affiliated gunmen in June 2006.

“The U.S. Administration must urge Israel to expand these contacts in order to reach a cease-fire with Hamas that would stop the rocket attacks on southern Israel and prevent a military escalation in Gaza,” the statement said.

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