Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met Monday with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, who is heading a bipartisan delegation of 13 congressmen, is currently in Israel in honor of its 60th Independence Day celebrations.
"The peace process, important as it is cannot change the situation in Gaza," Livni told Pelosi. "The Gaza Strip is on its way to becoming a regional problem, hindering any possibility of reaching a comprehensive agreement," she added.
Comparing the situation in Gaza to that in Lebanon, Livni said that "just as the Hizbullah represents Iran's destabilizing influence in Lebanon and not the Lebanese interest, Hamas represents hate and terrorism in Gaza and not the Palestinian interest.
"You can see from the situation in Lebanon just how much of a threat Iran is to the region," said the foreign minister, adding that the effectiveness the international community's sanctions on Iran, depends on it having a united front against the Islamic Republic.
The timeframe in which a peace agreement can be achieved is important, she told the US delegation, but a rigid timetable may also lead to unreal expectations, disappointment and violence. Both sides, continued Livni, must be given the space and time to broker a long-term agreement which truly represents both their interests.
The US delegation met with President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) on Sunday. The delegation is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik later this week.