(photo credit: GPO)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday that "activities against Hamas do not harm the political negotiations, rather they assist them."
"I expect the Palestinian partner to continue to negotiate even as we operate in Gaza. The fact that we are conducting negotiations with [the Palestinian Authority] will not change the situation in Gaza, which must be handled as terrorists are handled," Livni said.
Livni said Hamas's success was not only Israel's problem or the PA's problem, but a sign for all extremists in the surrounding nations that an extremist ideology could be enforced via democratic means.
Livni was speaking at a conference on the "legitimate rights of Israel with respect to international law" which was organized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and whose participants included senior legal officials and public figures.
Referring to world criticism of Israeli policy, the foreign minister said she was "ready to receive the criticism of the international community in every matter, but [I] want the evaluation to be legitimate."
"It is incumbent upon the international community to make a distinction between a situation in which terror organizations willingly attack civilians and a situation in which a state acts against terror organizations and sometimes accidentally harms civilians," Livni stated.
"We share the values of the free world, but there is a tremendous gap between the true values of the state of Israel and its image in the world," she said.
Livni noted that the "legitimacy of Israel is derived from its core principles as a Jewish and democratic state."
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