Leading candidates for Israel’s leadership in February’s national elections have both vowed to topple Hamas in Gaza if elected. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the centrist Kadima party, said she would use several means to achieve her objective.
“The State of Israel and the government led by myself will treat it as a strategic goal,” she said. “The Hamas Government in Gaza must be toppled. The means to do this must be military, economic and diplomatic.” Her main rival Benjamin Netanyahu who heads the right-wing Likud Party made a similar promise. “We have to move from passive acceptance of rocketing on our cities or towns to active defence. This is what is required. In the long run we won’t be able to tolerate an Iranian Hamas base touching our cities,” he said. Netanyahu, a former Israeli Prime Minister, made his remarks in the Israeli town of Sderot, which has been the target of numerous rocket attacks from bordering Gaza. According to the Israeli Defence Forces, Palestinian militants have fired nearly 60 rockets and mortar rounds into Israel since the ceasefire ended on Friday. Over the weekend an Israeli airstrike killed one Palestinian.