Israel`s foreign minister calls for UN mandate in Gaza
A day after the UN condemned an Israeli attack on a Gaza school as a "criminal act", Israel`s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday proposed that the world body take control of Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Jerusalem: A day after the UN condemned an Israeli attack on a Gaza school as a "criminal act", Israel`s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday proposed that the world body take control of Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Lieberman told the influential Knesset (Israeli parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee that there existed three options for Gaza -- destroying Hamas, a diplomatic arrangement, or a "limbo, something undefined where they shoot and we respond," The Jerusalem Post reported.
"The goal, as far as we are concerned, is to bring quiet, get rid of the threat of the rockets and prevent [Hamas] from growing stronger," he stressed.
"A normal country can`t be run by the whims of a terrorist organisation. If Israel destroys Hamas, a UN mandate controlling Gaza can be a serious option," Lieberman said.
The proposal surprised many as the UN has often been at the receiving end of Israeli criticism with Israel Defence Forces (IDF) accusing it of letting Gaza militants use its facility for storing weapons and firing from such shelters.
"In the case of Kosovo, we saw a UN mandate work and therefore, I think we need to bring back a UN mandate in the region," Lieberman said.
"I wouldn`t reject that option. The international community always demands that Israel go back to `67 borders and dismantle all settlements, and in the case of Gaza, we went back to those borders and dismantled all the settlements.
"What did we get in return? Eighteen thousand missiles and rockets. We need to wake up from the delusion that going back to `67 borders will bring quiet and stability," he asserted.
The proposal was contested by opposition member of Knesset, Nachman Shai, of the left-of-centre Labour party saying the idea "belongs to another world" and that the government should aim for a two-state solution, which the international community supports.
"Any other proposal has no chance and is only meant to sabotage a two-state solution," Shai contended.
The Israeli Foreign Minister also touched upon the issue of ceasefire talks stressing that Hamas` demands in Egypt are a "non-starter."
A diplomatic solution will be a complex challenge, the Yisrael Beitenu leader said.
"Today, every international forum understands the Israeli demand to demilitarise Gaza...Every foreign minister understands that the demand for demilitarisation is more than legitimate," Lieberman said.
Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Chairman Ze`ev Elkin (Likud) said "the operation may not have ended, but at the moment the ball is in the diplomatic court of the Foreign Ministry."
Elkin praised the government for not negotiating with Hamas.
However, another Labour party parliamentarian Merav Michaeli criticised the decision of not participating in cease-fire talks in Cairo which she said would lead to Hamas` terms being forced on Israel.
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the Israeli offensive on the coastal Strip has left over 1,822 Palestinians dead, including 398 children.
Some 9,370 Palestinians have been injured, 2,744 of them children, it said.
UN agency working in Gaza have said that approximately 373,000 children are in need of psychological support as a result of the trauma of the war.