'Gaza Has Become a Terrorist State'
Gaza has become a terrorist state, President Shimon Peres said in a meeting with foreign ambassadors. “Hundreds of thousands of mothers and their children in southern Israel cannot sleep at night as a result of the rocket attacks from Gaza,” he said.
The ambassadors hailed from countries represented on the United Nations Security Council, as well as countries in the Middle East.
“Can the United Nations guarantee that terror attacks will not happen again? None of you would give up on the safety and security of your citizens, just as Israel will stand in its own defense,” Peres declared. He tied recent terrorist attacks to international “flotillas” attempting to break Israel's naval blockade of Hamas, saying, “Whoever wants to help Gaza should insist that Gazans stop firing on Israel.”
He also took issue with the UN over Iran, whose head, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called to destroy Israel. “Why do you permit him to do this while allowing him to continue to be a member?” he asked.
The UN is inherently anti-Israel due to its organization, but Israel is committed to membership nonetheless, Peres added. “We can never benefit from a majority. The blocs in the UN are based on being anti-Israel and we don't have an opportunity for justice. In spite of this we will continue to struggle on and fight for peace.”
Peres' remarks followed a terrorist attack on an Israeli school bus in which one boy was critically wounded. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Both Britain and the United States condemned the attack on Thursday. British Foreign Secretary William Hague called it “despicable” and “cowardly.”
“I unreservedly condemn today's attack from Gaza on a bus carrying school children in southern Israel,” he said.
A U.S. State Department official said, “We condemn the attack on innocent civilians in southern Israel in the strongest possible terms... As we have reiterated many times, there is no justification for the targetnig of innocent civilians.”
The State Department expressed “deep concern” over the use of an advanced anti-tank missile in the attack, and noted that all countries are obligated to prevent weapons smuggling.
The IDF responded to the attack by hitting several terrorist targets in Gaza, including smuggling tunnels and launch sites. Nine people were killed, eight of them Hamas terrorists.