Livni: Gov't negotiating with Hamas weakens Israel

Opposition leader, Mofaz slam Netanyahu gov't handling of rocket fire from Gaza; both say Israel should have apologized to Egypt immediately.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday criticized the government's handling of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on southern Israel, saying that  the current policy being employed is "weakening Israel."
In an interview with Army Radio, Livni stated that "when we negotiate with Hamas, with extremists, we are damaging our ability to act militarily instead of strengthening relations with moderates."
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Livni added: "We must strengthen our status among moderates - Egypt, Jordan and the moderate Palestinian leadership - and simultaneously we must aggressively respond to attacks against us in order to give Israel its deterrence capability back. Negotiating with Hamas and quietly absorbing rocket attacks is problematic in the long term from a security standpoint."
The opposition leader said that removing Hamas from power in Gaza is "a worthy goal, not only because they are firing rockets at us but also because they will try to prevent a peace agreement as long as they remain in power." She added that this is a long-term goal, whereas the short-term goal should be regaining the power to deter attacks against Israel.

Earlier on Tuesday, Livni's fellow Kadima member MK Shaul Mofaz also slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government, saying his policy had left Israel powerless in the face of the latest round of terror emanating from the Gaza Strip.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Mofaz said that it was a mistake for Israel not to apologize immediately to Egypt for the death of its soldiers, apparently killed during a firefight between the IDF and terrorists on the Israel-Egypt border last week.

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman also responded to criticism of OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo following last week's attacks near Eilat, saying Russo is one of the best officers in the IDF and adding, "We all make mistakes [when confronted with) a complicated reality and Russo should continue in his position."
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