Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni defended the Israeli assault in Gaza, saying on America’s Sunday morning talk shows that Hamas, not Israel, “is the one who needs to be condemned by the international community.”
By Sharon Otterman
The New York Times
Reacting to anger from the Arab world, as well a call by the United Nations to cease hosilities, Ms. Livni said on “Fox News Sunday” that the assault “is needed in order to change the realities on the ground, and to give peace and quiet to the citizens in southern Israel.”
Speaking from Jerusalem in taped interviews, Ms. Livni said that until Hamas recognized Israel’s right to exist and ceased rocket attacks against Israel, they remained terrorists who needed to be acted against. The Israeli air assault has killed at least 280 Palestinians since it began Saturday.
She said army was seeking to avoid unnecessary deaths in the assault against Hamas headquarters in Gaza. Palestinian hospitals have reported numerous civilians among the dead and wounded.
“We are targeting Hamas, we are not looking for civilians to kill more than that,” she said in a second interview, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The Bush administration, due to hand over to Obama on January 20, put the onus on Hamas, the Islamists in charge of Gaza, to prevent more violence. It did not demand an end to Israeli attacks but urged all concerned to protect innocent lives.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza three weeks before Barack Obama becomes U.S. president pose an unexpected challenge for a man who has promised to work for Middle East peace from his first day in office.
Jordanians shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Amman December 27, 2008.(Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)
By Reuters: Read it all: