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Israel Continues Effort to Strengthen Abbas


NPR's Linda Gradstein reports.

LINDA GRADSTEIN: Aboul Gheit said Egypt is not giving up on an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal.


AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: The objective is to keep pushing for a viable peace process, building trust between the Israelis and the Palestinians, trying to achieve a breakthrough in the relationship.

GRADSTEIN: At the same news conference, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel is committed to a Palestinian state.

TZIPI LIVNI: And we show division when it comes to this conflict of two states for two people. We show the understanding that stagnation is not the right policy.

GRADSTEIN: Yesterday, Israeli officials announced that Israel will hit back. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

MARK REGEV: The government has allowed in a very, very careful and surgical way for defensive purposes only. If we see a group of people launching a rocket trying to kill Israeli civilians, they are a legitimate target. And I hope the Palestinian leadership, those moderates on the Palestinian side, understand this is a necessity. You cannot have a situation where your civilian population is open just to attack after attack like ducks in a shooting gallery.


GRADSTEIN: Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad warned a hard-won ceasefire could collapse if Israel resumes attacks in Gaza.

GHAZI HAMAD: We still believe that this agreement is alive and both sides should respect this agreement because it is interest for our people.

GRADSTEIN: Linda Gradstein, NPR News, Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.