Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni and Israel's ambassadors around the world are preparing to launch a global effort in a bid to secure backing for the anticipated operation in the Gaza Strip.
The campaign is intended to create an 'international umbrella' of support for the intensification of military action against Hamas, and possibly prevent the passing of UN Security Council resolutions against Israel. The move was decided upon in a special meeting held Sunday evening by Livni with all the ministry brass in attendance.
As reported by Ynet, the triumvirate of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Livni ruled in favor of the operation in a clandestine meeting last Thursday. The international diplomatic groundwork was one of the steps the three agreed would have to precede the operation.
They further determined that the military action would be gradual, and that strikes would only be carried out if the tactical and operational conditions allowed. Furthermore, Israel would remain open to the possibility of resuming talks for a renewed truce.
Crushing ScheduleThe diplomats singled out three key dates in the near future: January 9th – when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to step down, the changing of the guard in Washington on January 20th with the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, and the general elections in Israel on February 10th. It was also noted in the meeting that the Christian world will soon be celebrating Christmas and New Year's.
The plethora of events has Israel in a bind, and the PR effort will have to be focused and succinct. The current plan calls for a three-pronged campaign.
The first will see Livni speaking with her counterparts around the world. The second will send Israel's diplomats stationed abroad to explain the situation to both the public and the leadership of their respective
host countries. And the third calls for Livni to meet with the foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel, some of whom she will take on a tour of the rocket-battered town of Sderot and its neighboring communities.
The central message of the campaign, Livni stressed at Sunday's meeting will be that Israel gave the truce a genuine chance, but is duty-bound to military action to protect its citizens if attacked. "Israel can no longer ignore the terror barrages of rockets and mortar shells, the responsibility for which lies with Hamas as the rulers of the Gaza Strip," she said.