Livni on visit to Egypt
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Gaza military strike
The Foreign Ministry launched an international PR campaign following the military operation in Gaza Saturday. In a message to the global news agencies Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, "We tried everything to achieve calm without using force."
She added that Israel had agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt, which was interrupted by the Hamas' continuing fire towards Israel, as well as its holding of Gilad Shalit, and building up of its military force.
Livni said Israel had so far shown restraint, despite the fact that its citizens had been under constant threat of rocket barrages, which have so far included hundreds of rockets and mortars.
There is no other option but to strike, to protect the people of Israel from terrorists, she said. Israel withdrew from Gaza to give peace a chance, but instead terror organizations have overrun it, she added.
Livni stressed that Israel would continue to offer humanitarian aid in order to minimize the damage to the civilian population, but that unfortunately civilians were being harmed by Hamas propaganda. She said the responsibility for the harm caused to the civilians of Gaza rested on Hamas' shoulders.
Israeli ambassadors worldwide who had left for their Christmas vacations were summoned back to their respective embassies by the Foreign Ministry, to comment on the strike to various news agencies. An international PR center will also open in Sderot.
A senior ministry official told Ynet that representatives of the State would deliver messages along these lines: "Israel has made clear that it would respond to harm done to innocent civilians and is attempting to return to a time of calm.
"Hamas is the address for terror acts in the Gaza Strip and thus Israel will act against it and any other terror organization that fires in its direction. Israel retains the right to defend its southern citizens, whose lives have become unbearable, and would like to remind that the rocket fire has been continuing for eight years. Israel's retaliation will continue as long as acts of terror against its peaceful and innocent citizens continue."