Livni: 'We'll act against Gaza terror'

FM tours southern border and visits Sderot with foreign ambassadors and diplomats.

Livni 224.88 (photo credit: GPO)
Livni 224.88
(photo credit: GPO)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made it clear on Wednesday that Israel would act to end the terrorist threat from Gaza. During a tour of the border area with Gaza, Livni told some 60 foreign ambassadors and diplomats serving in Israel: "The situation in the region is unbearable, and the threat of terror from Gaza is growing larger from year to year. The problem is not only the Kassam rockets, but also the strengthening of the terror organizations. Israel must act to reduce these threats." Livni, together with senior Foreign Ministry officials, escorted the diplomats, who were briefed by Brig.-Gen. Moshe Tamir, commander of the IDF Gaza Division, and Col. Nir Press, head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration. They also met with residents of Sderot and Gaza-area communities and visited Sapir College near Sderot, which has been hit by Kassam rockets. The initiative was part of Israel's diplomatic efforts to explain to the world that civilians are living under daily attack. At the end of the tour, Livni told the diplomats, "Even if there is a lull in the shooting - don't let this quiet deceive you. The terror organizations are growing in strength, and planning for the future must be based on an understanding of this threat in the present." She also hinted that if and when there is a military operation, seizing the Philadelphi Corridor would be a top priority. "The international community supported the withdrawal of the IDF forces from the Philadelphi Corridor," Livni reminded the diplomatic corps, "and Hamas is exploiting this to build an army which is small in numbers but is powerful within Gaza. The decision-makers in Israel and the world must take note of this." Livni said negotiations would continue with moderate Palestinians but the problem of Gaza must be solved ahead of a peace agreement. "We need to be realistic. The negotiations themselves will not solve the problems created by Gaza, certainly not in a short period of time. On the contrary - the situation in Gaza will affect our ability to implement the outcome of these negotiations. The change on the ground must come before the establishment of a Palestinian state, if it is to include the Gaza Strip." Livni explained during the tour that there were three things that Israel could not agree to: the establishment of a terrorist state, an extremist Islamic state on Israel's border, and a weak, failed Palestinian state. Tamir outlined the scope of the terror threats directed against Israel from the Gaza Strip. Press presented evidence of the exploitation of international institutions for the firing of Kassams by terror organizations and he reviewed the amount of humanitarian aid currently being supplied to the Gaza Strip.