Peres with the Rwandan foreign minister.
(photo credit: GPO)
Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo told President Shimon Peres on Monday that she has a much better grasp of the security situation in Israel after having toured the Ashekolon Beach area with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday and visiting soldiers at Kibbutz Zikim where one of the Hamas tunnels had been detected.
She also witnessed the Iron Dome missile defense system in action.
Rwanda this month holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council and will hand over to Britain in August.
Mushikiwabo who came to Israel both as her country’s Foreign Minister and as Chair of the Security Council said that the visit had been “very useful” to her, and had allowed her “to understand what is not always out in the media – the complex part of the security situation."
Going with Liberman to the area under threat had brought the issue home to her, she said.
“Zambia is no stranger to conflict and violence” said Mushikiwabo, but within the Security Council is trying to reach for the better part of human beings and for the better political sense of its members
She said that she had been discussing with .the Jordanian representative who is closer to the problem and therefore has a keener understanding, what can be achieved to find a good compromise on the ceasefire so that the two sides can begin talking to each other.
In greeting Mushikiwabo, Peres observed wryly: “We are on your agenda, but not by choice”.
However he said, given the circumstances, her visit was timely, and there was no better place for her to be.
Peres explained that Israel had left Gaza unilaterally with no demands, and that Gaza had the potential to become the Singapore of the Middle East. But when Hamas took over, and killed many people from the Palestine Liberation Organization, it started a wave of terror. Instead of investing in development, Hamas invested huge sums of money in building thousands of missiles hiring engineers and constructing an underground city with numerous tunnels going through the Gaza Strip into Israel with the aim of having terrorists making sudden appearances and killing everyone in sight.
Peres confessed that Israel had been surprised at the extent of the planning and investment, and asked what a nation under attack could do other than defend itself.
“If you had hundreds of missiles fired at you, what would tou do?” he asked Mushikiwabo.