All those who value life and peace must join forces to prevent arms smuggling, so that Israel can continue to ease restrictions on the Palestinians.

 DFM Ayalon and COGAT brief foreign diplomats


MFA archive photo

(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Today (March 10) a briefing for foreign ambassadors in Israel was conducted by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Maj.Gen. Eytan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The subject of the briefing was the implementation of the civilian policy in Judea and Samaria and towards the Gaza Strip in light of the dramatic changes in the region.

After reviewing the government’s policy of easing restrictions in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, which has brought about significant economic growth in both areas (9% in Judea and Samaria, and 16% in the Gaza Strip), DFM Ayalon concluded, "Israel aspires to continue the easing measures. At the same time, the complexities of this region and the recent dramatic changes have intensified the threat of arms smuggling that endangers Israeli citizens in the southern and central parts of the country.
"Unfortunately, you and your families living in the center of the country also understand the this is a very real threat; the range of the rockets reaches all of us and already today thousands of rockets are stored in the Gaza Strip that threaten the population in Israel.

"We call on the international community and all in the region who treasure life to join forces to prevent the arms smuggling. The rockets threaten not only Israeli citizens, but also the citizens of the Gaza Strip who also long for a normal life. The continuation of the smuggling will interfere with Israel’s ability to ease restrictions for Gaza residents. All those who value life, whether they are Egyptian, Tunisian, Jordanian, Israeli or Palestinian, together with the international community, must stop the Iranian infiltration.

"From here I call on the international community to put pressure on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who does not receive even the most basic human rights."

In response to journalists’ questions regarding Denmark’s upgrading of the status of the Palestinian delegation, DFM Ayalon called it "a virtual upgrade that won’t change the reality on the ground. Whoever deludes the Palestinians into thinking that they can establish a state unilaterally, without negotiations, is diminishing the chances for peace and for a Palestinian state."

DFM Ayalon added, "Palestinian obstinacy will not prevent Israel from making diplomatic progress and cooperating with the international community."