Israel's PM Netanyahu in Sofia: Gaza Will Be Free without Hamas

Diplomacy | July 7, 2011, Thursday // 14:20|  views

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia after the historic first joint sitting of the Cabinets of Bulgaria and Israel. Photo by BGNES

If someone really wants to give Gaza humanitarian aid, they should call for end to the rule of Hamas there, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in Bulgaria's capital Sofia.

Israel's PM spoke at a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, right after the governments of Bulgaria and Israel held an unprecedented joint sitting.

Netanyahu said the new flotilla organized by several NGOs to reach the Gaza Strip in spite of the Israeli naval blockade – similar to the flotilla in June 2010 – is not a humanitarian mission.

Israel's Prime Minister stressed that Gaza's land borders are currently open for the import of any kinds of goods but weapons.

"We don't want any weapons to end up there because Hamas have fired 800 rockets against the Israeli people," he said.

Netanyahu further explained that the reason the Israeli forces have imposed a naval blockade of Gaza is that the potential quantity of arms that can be supplied by sea would take months to be supplied by land. He said the fact that Israeli forces have intercepted a large arms shipment is proof for that.

"If you really want to help Gaza with humanitarian aid, you need to call for an end to Hamas's rule. Hamas is a medieval regime similar to the one ruling Iran. If you want a free Gaza, Gaza needs to be freed from Hamas," Netanyahu stated in Sofia addressing NGOs preparing the Gaza-bound flotilla.

The Israeli Prime Minister did admit that the Palestinian initiative in the UN for the recognition of the Palestinian Authority as an independent state in the fall of 2011 was on the agenda of the talks with the Bulgarian government.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has stated in turn that Bulgaria is in talks with the other EU countries on the Palestinian issue, and that Bulgaria's position is that all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute must be back on the negotiations table. However, Borisov refused to provide a clear-cut answer about Bulgaria's final decision on the Palestinian recognition initiative in the UN.

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Tags: Iranian nuclear program, flotilla, Gaza Strip, Gaza, Hamas, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestine, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian, Middle East peace talks


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