The helicopter tour concentrated on the threats to Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip and Israel’s northern border.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni accompanied visiting US Congressman Thomas Lantos and the CEO of Oracle Corporation, Larry Ellison, on a tour of Israel’s north and south on Thursday, 9 August. The tour, by helicopter, concentrated on the threats to Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip and Israel’s northern border and included some of Israel’s strategic and tactical answers to those threats. 

In Sderot, the delegation saw examples of Kassam rockets and visited a house that had been struck by a Kassam missile. They were also taken to an observation point overlooking the Gaza Strip. In response to the account by Avi Suleimani, Director of the Sderot community center, of the difficulties in reinforcing the center against missile attack, Ellison  promised to donate the necessary funds.

Foreign Minister Livni said that Israel must act simultaneously against security threats from Gaza while working with Fayyad’s moderate government, on condition that the latter fulfill all of its commitments, particularly in the realm of security.

The delegation later visited an air force base in the north and an observation post overlooking Lebanon, where they were briefed on the situation in the area since the end of the second Lebanon War.

Minister Livni stated that the participation of terrorist organizations and militias in elections, whether in Lebanon or in the PA, contradicts the principles of democracy, using democratic tools to advance their goals. She said that there is a need to formulate universal rules that would define what constitutes legitimate democratic elections and who is eligible to take part in them.