BERLIN – Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that her country would support an Israeli operation in Gaza, in view of the ongoing Qassam fire.
Germany is well aware of the situation in Gaza, said Merkel during her meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in Berlin; adding the situation has only one solutions and that is for Hamas to stop the Qassam attacks. Should the fire persist, said Markel, Israel has every right to defend itself.
People in the Gaza Strip are suffering, but this shall continue as long as the rocket fire continues, the chancellor added.
During their meeting, Olmert stressed that his government still views Iran's nuclear program as a threat and said Jerusalem will respond to terror from Gaza "in every possible manner which will be effective."
Olmert brushed aside the notion that Iran no longer posed a threat after a US national intelligence report estimated that Tehran had stopped working on a nuclear program. Israel still "is of the opinion that the Iranians are moving forward" with plans "to create a capacity for non-conventional weapons," Olmert told reporters.
Asked whether a military response was still an option, he cited US President George W. Bush as saying that "nothing is ruled out."
Olmert also addressed the issue of attacks from Hamas-run Gaza.
"The Israeli government under my leadership is absolutely determined to respond to the challenge of terrorism from Gaza in every possible manner which will be effective," Olmert said. "We will not hesitate, we will not stop, we will do what's necessary to be done so that terrorists will understand that that leads nowhere."
At the same time, he said Israel "will continue our negotiations with the Palestinian authority" under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.