FM Livni: "Israel’s response must convey the right message, that we will not accept shooting – irrespective of which organization initiates it – and, since Hamas is interested in the calm, the chance of deterioration is low".

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Addressing the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 27 July 2008), Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni commented on Hamas violations of the calm with Israel: "I have said it in the past and I will say it again now – Israel must respond to any violations of the calm, to shooting with shooting.

Israel’s response must convey the right message, that we will not accept shooting – irrespective of which organization initiates it – and, since Hamas is interested in the calm, the chance of deterioration is low.

Regarding the Rafiah Crossing – its opening will strengthen Hamas. Therefore, if we do open it – it must be in the context of Gilad Shalit and Abu Mazen’s forces".

In response to a query made by Ze’ev Boim, Minister of Construction and Housing, regarding the international position on the three Hamas preconditions, FM Livni stated:

"We have determined, together with the international community, three clear conditions for Hamas to attain legitimacy: Recognition of Israel, renunciation of terror and recognition of previous agreements. It took a lot of work to accomplish this when Hamas came to power, and despite the disbelievers, it has held for over two and a half years. Israel’s conduct opposing Hamas is of consequence as well. There was apprehension that the calm would erode these conditions, which is why we are administering a significant campaign to preserve them. Up till now, we have succeeded".