Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni visited Sderot together with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Monday as a Qassam attack on the city killed one woman and injured several others.
"The residents of Sderot are suffering from an unbearable situation. We believe that the Palestinian Authority, headed by the Hamas government, is accountable," Livni told reporters.
Her party was entering Sderot several minutes before 8 pm, when a Qassam rocket hit the commercial center of town. Livni and Solana could see the ambulances and emergency vehicles rushing to the crash site.
As she was entering the city, she was greeted by Maxim Atias, a Sderot resident who said, "They are ruining the lives of our children. They are ruining everybody's lives."
Livni shook his hand and embraced him, saying that she had brought Solana to Sderot so that he could see the suffering of the local residents first hand. She added that the Israeli government will do everything to protect its citizens.
An display of Qassam remnants (Photo: Amir Cohen)
At a joint press conference held with Solana, Livni said, "It is unbearable. Children cannot go to school, and the residents cannot live their lives. I just received a message from the mayor that the woman (who was hit by a Qassam) died. So far we have shown restraint, but Israel must defend its citizens.
"Israel left Gaza to give peace a chance. In exchange, unfortunately, we are getting nothing but terrorism. The Qassams are only part of the problem," she added.
Israel demands definitive action
She turned to Solana and said, "The residents of Sderot think that the world is oblivious to their suffering. We not only expect that the world understand, but demand that the international community act with determination against the Palestinian Authority with no compromises when it comes to terrorism."
Solana said, "I condemn the attacks on Israeli citizens. We identify with you, as we do with people all over the world who are suffering. I hope that we can create conditions that will allow us to continue the peace process, as soon as possible."
A group of residents protested outside the building that hosted the press conference.
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal told the reporters, "Let me lead you through the streets of Sderot, streets of death, terror and trauma. I would like to remind everyone that Sderot is within the Green Line, so the Palestinians have no claim over it.
"We gave the Palestinians what they wanted and they still shoot at us. Since we disengaged from the Gaza Strip, over 1,000 Qassam rockets have landed in or around Sderot," he stated.
"It is unimaginable not to respond when someone shoots at you like that. It is against human nature. I call out to the Palestinians, and assert – we are not leaving Sderot. Justice is on our side and we are staying," he declared.