Livni explains Israel's position in light of Gaza attacks
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 3/5/2008
in A briefing by Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni to the Diplomatic Corps on Monday, Livni said according to her Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the goal of Israel's recent acts is "to weaken Hamas militarily and politically, and we are doing this simultaneously. I mean, we need to attack when they try to attack us. We need to use all the information we have in order to attack the infrastructure of terror. We have to attack the places in which they manufacture the rockets. We need to attack the terrorists themselves. We also need to address the buildup of Hamas and the fact that the Philadelphi Corridor is being used in order to smuggle weapons. As you saw, the weapons which are being smuggled through the Philadelphi Corridor have become more and more problematic. As you can see, we are talking in terms of a terrorist organization, but we are actually dealing with a small army, a small militia, in the Gaza Strip."
She added "Of course, politically there is a need to undermine Hamas because of the dual strategy that the world, Israel and the pragmatic Palestinians decided to adopt a few months ago, and I will refer to it because it is also connected to the peace process. Basically, Hamas has controlled Gaza since the elections in the Palestinian Authority, but just a few months ago, Hamas took Gaza in what Abu Mazen called a 'coup', and they control it. They control Gaza, they have this army, and this is the situation in Gaza. In the West Bank we have another government, which is supported by the international community and Israel as well, which is a legitimate government because it accepts the parameters of the international community to get legitimacy. I refer to the parameters of the Quartet requirements. They represent the national aspirations of the Palestinians to live in a state of their own, in peace and security, I hope, with Israel. We have a conflict with them, but we also have a mutual interest. We see this as a mutual interest to live in peace and security in two different states, two different homelands for two different peoples.
Now, the complicated situation is that, on one hand, we have the legitimate government which cannot control the entire future territory of the Palestinian state. The Palestinians are talking about their state, which includes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and we fully support this idea of a Palestinian state. But, clearly, according to the Annapolis understanding, any implementation of the understanding of the peace treaty is subject to the implementation of the Roadmap."
Livni added "The idea is that, before the creation of the state, we need to address the situation on the ground. We need to have an effective government, a government which can control - really control - all this terror coming from its territories."
She added "When it comes to the pragmatics and to the extremists, to Hamas and Fatah, to Abu Mazen and Haniyeh, it's a zero-sum game. The idea in working with the pragmatic leaders is to create a genuine alternative to Hamas, a genuine political alternative, and it is a zero-sum game. When Hamas gets stronger, it means that Abu Mazen and Salam Fayyad are getting less and less support; and when Hamas fails, it means that the others can get the support. Clearly, it's not only the Israeli strategy. It's not only the strategy of the Palestinians themselves and, of course, Abu Mazen."
Livni said "I said clearly in Annapolis, as I said in Paris, that the success of this peace process depends on the determination of the leaders of both sides not to let the goings-on outside of the negotiating room enter the negotiating room. And I didn't only say so; I acted accordingly. I met with Abu Ala the same day there was a suicide bombing in an Israeli mall in the Negev, in Dimona, in which one Israeli was killed. Some members of the government coalition called on me to stop the negotiations because it's not wise or it doesn't represent the interests of Israel to continue negotiations under terror. And last week I had two meetings with Abu Ala - one on Wednesday, the same time when I received the information that an Israeli was killed at the Sapir College campus near Sderot. And the next day we had another meeting, on the day of the funeral. I answered a no-confidence vote in the Israeli parliament for continuing the negotiations, and I said clearly that we are going to continue the negotiations because otherwise we give Hamas the keys and control of the peace treaty because if they know that by using terror they win the cessation of the negotiations, this would only give them a good reason to continue terrorism. We knew this in advance and we decided to enter the negotiating room because it is more important, and because only by doing it simultaneously can we give hope for the people. In so doing, we can create a genuine alternative to Hamas and undermine Hamas at the same time."
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