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Monday, January 21, 2008
FM Livni: Israel doesn't punish civilian population for its leaders' policies

FM Livni: Israel doesn't punish the civilian population for its leaders'
policies
We are maintaining the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Israel is
the only place in the world that supplies electricity to terrorist
organizations that launch rockets at it in return.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)
21 January 2008

On Monday, 21 January 2008, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs Tzipi Livni met with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen. After
their meeting, FM Livni said:

"We decided to operate vis--vis the Palestinians in parallel - peace talks
alongside an ongoing war on terrorism. The negotiations and their outcome
will of necessity be subject to the situation on the ground and to changes
in the reality in the field. It was clear that the negotiations would take
place in the shadow of the war on terrorism and that the fierce desire to
achieve peace would go hand in hand with the fierce fight against terror to
ensure the security of our citizens.

In the course of the negotiations, we will be making a clear distinction
between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, between the moderates and the
extremists. Israel will not stop its counterterrorist operations because of
the negotiations. This is a combined process that, at the end of the road,
is intended to provide security, establish a Palestinian state - if it lives
up to our demands - and to create an entirely different reality.

Our policy is not to punish the civilian population for its leaders'
policies. Activity vis--vis the moderates will take place while responding
to the ongoing daily threat coming from the Gaza Strip. We withdrew from
Gaza, dismantled communities; the Palestinians had the opportunity of giving
new hope to their people in Gaza, but their only response was terror.

The Palestinians must understand that they cannot profit politically from
terror. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian national vision; it is an
extremist group that does not recognize Israel's right, or any non-Muslim's
right, to exist. There is no hope in terrorism; there is no hope in such a
leadership; hope will come to the Palestinians from a different, more
moderate policy.

We are maintaining the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Israel is
the only place in the world that supplies electricity to terrorist
organizations that launch rockets at it in return. Life for the Palestinians
in the Gaza Strip is not easy because there is terrorism there, and this
should be crystal clear: Hamas can change the lives of the people in Gaza in
an instant, if it ceases terrorism. It knows that, and the Palestinian
civilians must understand it as well."

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