Livni: France and Russia 'problematic'

The deaths of civilians in Kafr Kana marked a turning point in Israel's ability to maneuver politically and diplomatically with the international community, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. European support has receded, and the Russian and French positions have become "problematic," she said, noting that "the incident became a turning point not only in the PR arena, but also led to a retreat in the attempts to secure diplomatic achievements." One committee member added that the shift in PR would make it more difficult for an international peacekeeping force to be formed and deployed in southern Lebanon. "It is important, however, that we do not stray from implementing UN resolution 1559," Livni said. She also said that Israel's swift and determined response on the day of the abduction of two soldiers by Hizbullah sent a strong message throughout the region that Israel was going to change the rules of the game and shift the "reality on the ground." According to Livni, the IDF's operations in Lebanon do not have a time limitation. "It would be a mistake to bind ourselves to declarations regarding the exit point of IDF troops from southern Lebanon," she said. Following Livni's appearance, the committee approved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's and Defense Minister Amir Peretz's decision to call up three reserve divisions. The only opposing vote came from Yossi Beilin (Meretz), who called the decision a "grave mistake."