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Livni to foreign envoys: Pressure Hamas
'Change on the ground requires international community to make the distinction between Hamas and Israel,' FM tells foreign ambassadors

Israel has paid a heavy price for its policy of restraint in the face of long-range rockets and must now answer to its citizens, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told foreign ambassadors on Sunday.

 

In her speech, delivered as part of Israel's effort to garner international backing for the massive offensive in Gaza, Livni said Hamas was under the impression that the international community would apply pressure only on Israel, "but I hope they are wrong and they must be proven wrong".

 

According to her, Israel has shown that it wants calm and expects the international community to "support things that are not easy to support. Only in this manner will we be able to change the reality on the ground.

 

"We are not using all our force. Hamas is using all of its force to harm our citizens; most of those killed (on the Palestinian side) were uniformed gunmen," the FM added.

 

"A quick change of the situation on the ground requires the international community to make the distinction between Hamas and Israel and press the Islamist group."

 

Addressing the initiatives calling on both sides to hold their fire, Livni said "I don’t accept these calls. Hamas is a terror organization and Israel is a country that is defending its citizens. The only possible way to cut the offensive short is to make it clear that Israel has the right to protect itself and that the international community backs Israel (in its battle against Hamas).

 

"This isn't some neighborhood in which the bully rules and extremism triumphs; this is the message that you all (foreign envoys) should convey," she said. "It's like David and Goliath, only in this case the strong side is restraining itself."

 

Speaking of the offensive's possible ramifications on the peace process, Livni said "the only way to achieve peace is by combating terror and those who act against peace. Hamas is obstructing peace; it is an illegitimate organization and its rule over Gaza is illegitimate." 

 

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