Liberman: Only ground operation will secure peaceful summer for children in South

Speaking during visit to man wounded in rocket attack, Liberman claims his proposed occupation of Gaza meant to ensure security, not build settlements.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Speaking in Ashkelon, where he visited injured Israelis at Barzilai Medical Center, the foreign minister said, "Only a full ground  incursion in Gaza will secure a peaceful summer for our children in the South," reiterating a personal stance that has caused friction between the foreign minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"In the Gaza [disengagement] we gave [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas the keys to Gaza," said Liberman, pointing out that the result has been the thousands of rockets launched at Israel since that time.
"What I understand form the international community over the years is that it has wanted Israel to go back to the 1967 lines," he stated, "Which we did."
At Barzilai Medical Center, Liberman stressed, "There's no argument, we want to ensure citizens' security. We're not trying to build towns there [in Gaza], we just want security."
The statements by Liberman were followed by Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende, who said he wanted to stop suffering both in Israel and Gaza and that he is very concerned about the situation.
Liberman made the statements on a visit to Barzilai Medical Center to visit Yarin Levy, 16, was on his way home from the barbershop in Ashkelon on Sunday when shrapnel from an exploding rocket hit him in the chest and landed him in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
The Barzilai emergency room was in the process of being moved to the building's bomb shelter on Wednesday after a rocket fell outside the current emergency room the day before. The hospital is vulnerable to rockets and the safety of patients who cannot easily be moved in and out of the bomb shelter is in jeopardy.
No one in the hospital was injured in Wednesday's rocket barrage as doctors made the tough decisions of whether to stay with patients or wait out the attack in the bomb shelter.