JPOST Politics And Diplomacy
By LAHAV HARKOV \10/25/2016
Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid took ambassadors and diplomats from 14 countries on a tour of the Gaza border to discuss the security situation in the south Tuesday.
“The world needs to see that we are not the aggressors. We are the side being attacked by a murderous terrorist organization that tortures its people and is trying to wear us out, but won’t succeed,” Lapid said. “It was important to bring them here so they will go to their countries and explain that we will not move and they need to go to the other side and tell them they need to find a solution.”
The group visited a tunnel dug from Gaza to attack Israelis at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, where the ambassadors were given an overview of security in the South by the Commander of the Gaza Division Southern Brigade Col. Kobi Heller. They were then driven along the fence between Israel and Gaza, to see how close Israeli towns are.
The ambassadors also met with local council heads and residents to hear about life under the shadow of terrorism.
“Imagine that there’s a siren – there was one yesterday – and you have 15 seconds to go and hide,” Lapid told the group in Kfar Aza. “Imagine where you can go in 15 seconds. Imagine where you can go in 15 seconds if you’re holding a child, or if you’re 80 years old.”
Lapid was joined by MK Ofer Shelah, a fellow member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as well as the former head of IDF Central Command, Avi Mizrahi. The diplomats who took part in the tour came from Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.
Mizrahi told the group that Hamas is a terrorist organization that uses civilians to cover up its attacks.
“An underground infiltration with tunnels going under an international border is a violation of Israeli sovereignty that none of your countries would tolerate at home,” he stated.
Shelah explained that his party organized the trip for ambassadors because “there’s nothing like seeing things with your own eyes. There’s no better way to create legitimacy for what Israel is doing every day and what we may have to do if God forbid there’s a battle.”