Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema condemned Israel's policy and suggested that the deadly strike in Beit Hanoun
last week, which left 20 people dead, was deliberate.
"There are some who say that the tragedy in Beit Hanoun was a mistake. But there was no mistake. What happened in Beit Hanoun is a result of political choices."
In an interview with his party's publication L'Unita, D'Alema said: "The Israeli attack was meant to prevent a new political process between the Palestinians and the establishment of a national unity government that would lead Hamas to recognize Israel and to renew negotiations."
D'Alema, who says he is a friend of Israel, said the Israeli government's policy is influenced by the Israeli public opinion: "The government which was weakened because of the war in Lebanon is accused of not being determined enough, and is attacking the Palestinians to prove it is strong. That's a desasterous policy.
"Israel responded to the crisis which resulted from the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit with a military operation that claimed the lives of 360 Palestinians and 4,000 inhured."
La Republica newspaper wrote on Saturday that the Israeli Foreign Ministry was surprised by D'Alema's remarks as it expects Italy to be a fair mediator between the two sides. The newspaper said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni could submit a complaint against her counterpart's remarks.
Israel's new Ambassador to Italy Gideon Meir will ask for clarifications from D'Alema, when the two meet in Rome, the newspaper said.