Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni gave an interview Monday to Arab television network al-Jazeera in which she harshly criticized Hamas, saying the organization was to blame for the civilian casualties in Gaza.
Livni stressed that Israel was doing the utmost to only target sites used by Hamas and the armed factions in the Strip. When asked about the killing of women and children the foreign minister stated that while Israel did not deliberately harm those uninvolved in the fighting, Hamas intentionally targeted civilians in Israel.
Livni interviewed by al-Jazeera
"Hamas seeks to kill children; it fires at kindergartens, schools, civilians – because this corresponds with its extremist ideology. Our values are completely different," she said. "We hit Hamas while it takes shelter among civilians… Hamas is indifferent to the fate of Gaza's inhabitants."
Livni said that prior to the air raids Israel informed all the residents living in those areas of the planned strikes and urged them to leave.
Israel wants to live in peace – it had left the Strip and has no intention to return there, Livni added, "But Israel is nevertheless obligated to protect its citizens." She also called upon the Arab world to denounce Hamas, "whose sole objective is to deepen the hatred."
The foreign minister also criticized al-Jazeera itself, and sarcastically noted during the interview that "when you show one-sided images from Gaza you're not helping peace. I understand that pictures which create provocation lead to anger and hostility among the citizens, but we want a better future for this region," she declared.