FM Livni: "Israeli does its utmost to prevent any harm to civilians and children. The pain of families on both sides is the same."

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

After her meeting today (Wednesday, April 18) in Jerusalem with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni issued the following statement:

Regarding harming civilians: 

"Israeli does its utmost to prevent any harm to civilians and children. The pain of families on both sides is the same. We do not accept, however, the comparison between the two sides, nor the comparison of Israeli actions against the terrorist organizations and the terrorist operations against Israel."

"The terrorist organizations deliberately target civilians and children, while IDF troops, in combat against terrorists hiding amongst a civilian population, go to extreme lengths to prevent any harm to civilians and children. These are the Israeli principles to which the IDF adheres, and which sometimes cause us to pay a considerable price."

"Israel expects the world to judge the occurrences according to the same principles present in every legal system around the world, the principles that differentiate between intentional murder and unintentional death."

Regarding the security fence:

"The fence was constructed in order to protect the lives of civilians. Every centimeter was examined by the Israeli courts, whose international reputation is untarnished. In my opinion, there were several instances where the court had to lend its weight to security issues while taking into account the civilian quality of life."

"The fence is the best thing Israel has done to promote the two-state solution. Personal problems caused by residency in close proximity to the fence could have arisen even if the fence had been built directly on the 1967 border lines, due to the fact that during the past 40 years a certain process of amalgamation of villages has occurred."

"Even if the fence does affect the life of anyone residing in close proximity to it, it still has positive strategic significance in terms of the two-state solution. Israel and the Palestinians are separated from each other. The fence was one of the main factors that made the disengagement possible."