Olmert and Sarkozy
Photo: GPO

Olmert: We do not aim to topple Hamas

PM meets French president, stresses ending Hamas' rule in Strip not one of Gaza offensive's objectives. operation aims to change security situation in south, rid Israelis of terror, says Olmert

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed Monday that the objectives of Operation Cast Lead do not include toppling Hamas' regime in the Gaza Strip.


Olmert, who met Monday evening with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said that "(Israel) did not set out to eliminate Hamas' rule in Gaza, though we can do that too."


Sarkozy arrived in Israel earlier Monday morning, in an attempt to see if a ceasefire can be brokered between Israel and Hamas.


"We defined a limited objective to this operation and that is to change the security situation in the south and rid hundreds of thousand of citizens from the fear of terror" said Olmert.


France, he assured Sarkozy, plays a pivotal role in curbing Hamas. Political sources noted that the French president was sympathetic to Israel's need to see an end to the shelling of its citizens and bridle Hamas.


Partners. Olmert (r) and Sarkozy (Photo: GPO)


Olmert also urged Sarkozy to thwart the UN Security Council's attempts to force the issue of a ceasefire, or to issue a resolution denouncing Israel for its offensive in Gaza.


"In view of the latest diplomatic developments and at this time, it would be unwise for the UN Security Council to pass such resolutions…In light of our fight agaisnt terror – today it's Hamas, tomorrow it will be Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, and next it will be al-Qaeda."


The UN has yet to decide on the Security Council's meeting. "Experience has proven that sometimes, the UN's need to find a compromise comes at Israel's expense," said Olmert. "We will not abide being placed on the same platform as Hamas, a terror organization. We are not two sides of the same equation.


"I'm no stranger to compromise," he continued, "I've been holding two negotiations in order to do that, but there is one thing that I cannot compromise on, and that is that safety of the citizens of Israel.


"There is no compromise, if Hamas would still be able to fire at Israel a month or two from now. Before the ceasefire, we had 12-mile range missiles and after it, that range has expanded to 25 miles, threatening a million Israelis.


"The end goal," he concluded, "is not just to Hamas hold its fire, it's to ensure he will not be able to fire in the future."


Sources privy to Olmert and Sarkozy's meeting said that Paris' initiative for a 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire, which was rejected by Jerusalem, did not come up.


פרסום ראשון: 01.06.09, 02:03
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