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Briefing By Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi To Foreign Diplomats

19 May 2021

I want to thank those countries that have supported us since the start of the rocket fire by Hamas and backed our right to defend our citizens.

I want to thank the US on their uncompromising support and their support in the UN, including in conversations with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

I also want to thank our friends in Europe for their support and show of solidarity.

And a thank you to all the ambassadors who are joining by Zoom, for all your work with the governments of the countries that you are based in.

This time it is different! Hamas instigated the current escalation in an attempt to seize control of the Palestinian agenda, and to weaken and replace the Palestinian Authority.

A strong Hamas poses a threat to regional stability. Hamas chose to carry out terrorist attacks and fired at Israeli citizens in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the south of the country.

You and your family members experienced the violent reality of Hamas for Israeli citizens when you also had to go into shelters.

I send my condolences to the people of India and Thailand for your citizens killed by Hamas rockets.

No country would allow the firing of thousands of rockets on its population and they would act in a similar way to protect its citizens.

The actions of Hamas at this time should cause the entire international community to change its behavior in relation to Hamas.

Strengthening Hamas as opposed to the PA goes against Palestinian interests and those of the international community.

It also destroys any future solution to the conflict and harms the PA.

We are monitoring the humanitarian situation and are in constant contact with aid organizations. We are aware of the difficulties and are attempting to bring in aid.

Yesterday, as we were transferring trucks of fuel and aid, Hamas fired on the trucks as they were crossing into Gaza.

In the past week, I have spoken with dozens of foreign ministers, and I am convinced that there is strong international support and understanding for Israel's need to fight Hamas terrorism.

We expect that countries who value stability and peace in the Middle East should:

  • Explicitly condemn Hamas for firing rockets.
  • Express support for Israel's right to protect its citizens.
  • Make clear that the responsibility for the escalation is on Hamas.
  • Designate Hamas as a terror organization.

It is in all of our interests to condemn Hamas' terrorism and express support for Israel's measures to protect its citizens.

This prevents the strengthening of a radical terrorist organization at the expense of pragmatic and moderate actors.

Strengthening Hamas as opposed to the PA goes against Palestinian interests and those of the international community.

The Palestinians are trying to move the conflict to the international arena and to UN bodies. We oppose these initiatives, which will only contribute to inflame the situation and boost Hamas.

We need to end this outrageous comparison of the terrorists of Hamas and the democracy of Israel.

Israel opposes holding the expected discussion at the General Assembly. However, since it will happen anyway, I ask that the statements of your countries in the discussion include:

A. A clear condemnation of the rocket fire by Hamas on the Israeli civilian population

B. Recognition of Israel's right to protect its citizens

C. Clarification that Hamas is responsible for the escalation.

In the event that a resolution is formed at the Assembly, I ask that your countries vote against such a resolution.

I understand that the Palestinians are working to convene a special session of the UN Human Rights Council.

This is a body with a clear anti-Israel agenda. This will not contribute to calming the situation, but will reward Hamas. I ask that the member states of the Council strongly oppose this meeting.

End.

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