We expect the international community to demand of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinians to stop this violence against innocent civilians in Israel.

Israeli civilians are now under ongoing attacks by terrorist organizations which are part of the Palestinian government headed by Hamas, which is itself a terrorist organization. Israel views the Palestinian government as responsible for the situation.

The situation in the last two days is unbearable. It is important to understand that the Israeli government has shown restraint in the last two months, but the last two days, in which Israeli civilians are being attacked on a daily basis with missiles from the Gaza strip – a place that Israel left in order to give the Palestinians the possibility to create a normal life and not to attack Israel – this is a situation that should be changed.

The Israeli government will take all the necessary steps in order to give security to Israeli citizens, and we expect the international community to demand of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinians to stop this violence against innocent civilians in Israel.

The army has received instructions to act in accordance with some of the proposals that were submitted to us. The fact that terrorist organizations that actually make up part of the government in the Palestinian Authority, headed by Hamas, are involved in this shooting is a situation that, from from Israel’s standpoint, is intolerable.

We view the Palestinian government itself as responsible. We will  act in order to provide the residents of Sderot with better security. That is our responsibility as a government and, as you have seen, we are appealing to the international community in order to highlight the situation in Sderot.

We also want to clarify that, from out standpoint, this is a situation that cannot continue. We are making it clear to the international community that, until now, Israel has shown restraint, but for no reason and because of some internal disagreements in the Palestinian Authority, someone has decided to strike the residents of Sderot in such a massive and severe manner. This is something we cannot accept.

I think that every citizen of Israel, and certainly we, as cabinet ministers, feel the pain of the people of Sderot. We identify with their feelings, but we also have a responsibility – and our responsibility is not just to identify with the situation, but also to try to decrease the quantity and to convey the message to the Palestinian Authority, both militarily and otherwise, that this situation, from our standpoint, is intolerable.

We have shown restraint for a lengthy period of time, when the situation was different from what we have seen in the past few days. We must understand that no one has a magic solution. We will have to act, and the time period will be determined by the circumstances.

* * *

On Thursday, May 17, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke with her German counterpart, FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier. She said that Israel expects the European Union to be involved in diplomatic efforts to halt the firing of Kassam rockets at Israeli territory.

FM Livni described the situation in Sderot, particularly the great suffering and hardship of the civilian population as a result of the ceaseless attacks. She stressed the need for the international community to express solidarity with Israel and its citizens at this time, including an explicit condemnation of the attacks.