FM Livni briefed the foreign press on Israel’s counter-terror operation in Gaza.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)

Israeli citizens have been under the threat of daily attack from Gaza for years. Only this week – hundreds of missiles and mortars shells were fired at Israeli civilian communities including the firing of 80 missiles on a single day.
 
Until now we have shown restraint. But today there is no other option than a military operation. We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza.
 
This is the translation of our basic right to self defense.
 
Israel left Gaza in order to create an opportunity for peace. In return, the Hamas terror organization took control of Gaza and is using its citizens as cover while it deliberately targets Israeli communities and denies any chance for peace.
 
We have tried everything to reach calm without using force. We agreed to a truce through Egypt that was violated by Hamas, which continued to target Israel, hold Gilad Shalit and build up its arms.
 
Israel continues to act to prevent humanitarian crisis and to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians. Unfortunately, Hamas cynically abuses its own civilian population and their suffering for propaganda purposes. The responsibility for harm to civilians lies with Hamas.
 
Hamas is a terrorist organization, supported by Iran, that does not represent the legitimate national interests of the Palestinian people but a radical Islamist agenda that seeks to deny peace for the peoples of this region.
 
While confronting Hamas, Israel continues to believe in the two-state solution and remains committed to negotiations with the legitimate Palestinian Authority in the context of the peace process, launched at Annapolis.
 
Israel expects the support and understanding of the international community, as it confronts terror, and advances the interest of all those who wish the forces of peace and co-existence to determine the agenda of this region.