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  Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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Israel has not felt any serious international pressure that would force
Israel has not felt any serious international pressure that would force it to halt its military operations in the Gaza Strip, the country's foreign minister told Russian news agencies on Wednesday.

"Most of the demands and requests that I get are to do with the humanitarian situation and Israel is trying to take humanitarian needs into consideration during its military operations," Tzipi Livni said.

She said that Israel was counting on Russia to play a role in diplomatic efforts with the Islamist Hamas movement that controls Gaza, as well as pressuring Syria and Iran to stop their support for the Palestinian group.

Russia can "help Hamas understand that they will not receive legitimacy by terrorist means," she said.

Livni expressed her hope that the world understands that Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip are directed "not against the Palestinians, but against the terrorist organization of Hamas, which is holding the Palestinian people hostage in Gaza."

Asked when the military operations would end, Livni did not name a date, putting the onus on the Palestinian side.

"They were shocked on the first day [of airstrikes], then they were surprised that we started ground operations, now we need to see if they are ready to stop," she said.

"We changed the formula. Before Hamas was firing at Israel, understanding that Israel would show restraint," Livni said. "We decided to put an end to this. Now they understand that when they shoot at Israel, Israel will return fire with full force."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in the Middle East early on Wednesday to meet regional leaders and push for an end to the violence.

Last Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution, with just the United States abstaining, calling for "an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces form Gaza."

The death toll in Gaza since December 27, when Israel first launched airstrikes on the enclave, is reported to have risen to over 920, with over 4,000 injured.


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