Peres condemns school bus attack at UNSC envoy meeting

"This is another clear example of Gaza’s transformation into a terror state," president says; adds that Israel will defend itself.

By JORDANA HORN
April 8, 2011 03:00
2 minute read.
President Shimon Peres in Switzerland

President Shimon Peres in Switzerland 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

 
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NEW YORK – President Shimon Peres denounced Thursday’s Gaza-missile attack on a school bus, having learned off it during a meeting with members of the United Nations Security Council in New York.

“This is another clear example of Gaza’s transformation into a terror state,” he told a round-table meeting with UN Security Council ambassadors – also attended by representatives from Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

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“None of you would give up on the security of your country, and Israel will also defend itself,” Peres said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heard about the attack shortly after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. He said that Merkel understood very well Israel’s need to take action to defend itself.

“I told her that we have no intention of absorbing attacks that no other state would tolerate,” he said.

Near Nahal Oz on Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a press briefing shortly after the attack.

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“We see Hamas as responsible [for] everything that happens in Gaza, and expect Hamas to realize what is allowed and what is forbidden,” Barak said. “The actions being undertaken now [by the IDF] are a response to everything that has been happening in Gaza.”

The White House also condemned the attack.

“We condemn the attack on innocent civilians in southern Israel in the strongest possible terms, and on-going rocket fire from Gaza,” a State Department official said. “As we have reiterated many times, there is no justification for the targeting of innocent civilians, and those responsible for these terrorist attacks should be held accountable.

“We are deeply concerned about reports that indicate the use of an advanced antitank weapon in an attack against civilians, and reiterate that all countries have obligations under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition.”

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said he would turn to other education ministers around the world and point out to them “the murderous nature of Palestinian terrorism, which stops at nothing.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, condemned the Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to intervene to stop the escalation.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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