DFM Ayalon: "Following the government decision, we will double and even triple the amount of goods sent into Gaza. The only bottlenecks that will remain will be on the Palestinian side."
(Communicated by the Bureau of Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon)
Today, (Thursday, 1st July 2010), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon took more than 80 members of the diplomatic corps on a tour of the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in light of the recent decision by the Israeli cabinet to widen the scale of civilian goods that will enter Gaza.
During the tour, the Deputy Foreign Minister gave a briefing to the diplomats to explain the new decision. "We have been working with the recognized international organizations for many months to implement this decision. The Israeli government believes in full transparency for the international community," Ayalon said. "We wanted to bring you here as representatives of your governments, because seeing is believing."
"Our primary responsibility, as with any government, is the safety and security of our citizens. At the same time, we are seeing to the needs of the civilian population of Gaza. Following the government decision, we will double and even triple the amount of goods sent into Gaza. The only bottlenecks that will remain will be on the Palestinian side."
Ayalon showed the diplomats the security procedures at the crossing. "The people who work at the crossing do so under constant threats," Ayalon told the diplomats. "Even though this crossing itself has been targeted on a regular basis, including yesterday when a missile landed not far from here, we will continue meeting our responsibilities so that there is a continued and constant flow of goods into Gaza."
"Our policy is to distinguish between Hamas and other terrorist organizations, who represent Iranian interests and occupy Gaza, and the civilian population. We will continue to work with the recognized international bodies, like the United Nation and the International Red Cross, to ensure that building projects will be completed while ensuring that Hamas will not expropriate cement and other building materials to reinforce their military positions."
The Deputy Foreign Minister told the diplomats that they should do all they can to prevent their citizens from participating in any flotillas. "As you can see there is no need for any flotillas. These are extremely provocative and are backed by the radical alliance of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah."
The Deputy Foreign Minister took the opportunity to call on the international community to do all they can to seek the release of abducted Israel soldier, Gilad Shalit. "I would like to stress and emphasize the importance of the release of Gilad Shalit," Ayalon said. "It is vital that the entire international community will use all of its influence with those that are holding our citizen to release him immediately."
Ayalon also referred to the stalled peace process. "Israel has done absolutely everything possible to move the peace process forward," Ayalon said. "Although Hamas remain the main obstacle to peace, Gaza is not the main issue. We need to see one Palestinian authority and for President Abbas to immediately come to the negotiation table without preconditions and excuses."