Livni: UN censure 'harmful and wrong'

FM says harming innocents has political price; Olmert expresses faith in IDF.

beit hanun crater (photo credit: AP)
beit hanun crater
(photo credit: AP)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Sunday's cabinet meeting called the UN resolution condemning Israel for the accidental deaths of 19 Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanun "harmful and wrong," and added that "for harming civilians, there is a political price, as well." Livni also urged any ministers who had plans for stopping Kassam rocket attacks against Israel to present them to the government. "We can't create the mistaken impression that the government is refusing to authorize plans of action," Livni said in response to a number of other ministers who intimated that Israel has not taken sufficient action to prevent Kassam fire. Livni proposed that Israel present its own diplomatic initiative in conjunction with the Palestinians, rather than waiting for initiatives from foreign sources. "We make every effort not to harm civilians who aren't involved [in attacks]," Defense Minister Amir Peretz said. "Unfortunately, no one had proposed an inquiry into the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and terror organizations that do everything possible to hurt innocent civilians. We don't mean to accept this," he said. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also strongly condemned the weekend UN vote, which called for Israel to cease its operations in Gaza. "Anyone who intentionally aims at civilians should be condemned," Olmert said, referring to continued Kassam attacks launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip. "Only those who roll their eyes and preach morality feel that [Israel] should be condemned." "The entire government has complete confidence in the army," Olmert added. The General Assembly resolution passed by a vote of 156 to 7, with six abstentions. Israel, the US, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau voted against. The Arab League had asked for the session after the US vetoed a similar Security Council draft resolution against Israel's actions last weekend. Canada, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu abstained. All the European Union members supported the resolution. There are no vetoes in the 192-member General Assembly, and the chamber's resolutions are non-binding, considered more a reflection of international opinion.