FM Livni: "The negotiations themselves will not change the situation in the Gaza Strip. Hamas rejects the very existence of Israel."
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met this morning (Monday, March 17, 2008) with Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.
Regarding the situation in Gaza, FM Livni stated: "The negotiations themselves will not change the situation in the Gaza Strip. Hamas rejects the very existence of the State of Israel, and acts against it. The smuggling of Iranian-made armaments from Egypt into the Gaza Strip increases the range of the threat, and enlarges the civilian population forced to live under that threat. Coincidental quiet is not a solution. The answer lies in the complete termination of rocket launchings and military augmentation; in parallel to the negotiations, Israel will have to use force in response to these threats."
Regarding the Iranian issue, FM Livni stated: "The Security Council decision is important, but actions against Iran must be increased. Israel hopes that Germany will continue its activities in this regard, and encourage additional actions in Europe. Moderate Arab states, themselves threatened by Iran, will perceive hesitation by the international community as weakness, which may encourage affiliations with Iran, a fact which will dramatically change the map of coalitions in the region."
FM Livni and FM Steinmeier also discussed the issue of the abducted Israeli soldiers. In addition, the two also agreed on a range of joint foreign ministry projects – joint investment in third world countries, strengthening the relationship of Israeli and German youth and the promotion of culture and art.
Later today, FM Livni and the German Minister of Environmental Protection will sign an agreement on Israeli-German cooperation in Africa on the issues of water, water distribution, and agriculture.