Yesh Atid Party Chairman and Knesset Member Yair Lapid, along with members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, led a delegation of representatives from 14 foreign governments on a tour of the Gaza border last week.
According to a statement released by Yesh Atid, Knesset Member Ofer Shelah and Major General (res.) Avi Mizrahi also participated in the tour. Among the foreign diplomats in attendance were ambassadors from the European Union, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Myanmar as well as deputy ambassadors from the United States, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam.
“We came with a large group of ambassadors…so that they can see for themselves the reality faced by the citizens of the communities near the Gaza border,” Lapid said in a briefing. “[W]e took them to see the threat posed by the tunnels discovered nearby and to see…the efforts that are made to attempt to murder Israeli citizens in this area. The world needs to understand that it is not we who are the aggressors… It was important for us to bring them here so that when they return to their countries they’ll explain…that we are not going to move. They must go to those on the other side and tell them: You need to find the solution.”
The tour began at the mouth of a terror tunnel dug from Gaza that exited within 2 kilometers of Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha in Israel. Colonel Kobi Heller, commanding officer of the Southern Brigade, gave the ambassadors a security briefing at that location.
“From there the ambassadors continued along the border fence, seeing the close proximity of the Israeli communities to the fence,” Yesh Atid said in its release. “At the observation post in Kfar Aza, Lapid held a discussion with the ambassadors on how Israel tackles security issues along the southern border.”
The ambassadors met later with regional council heads and residents to hear about “their daily routine in the shadow of terrorism,” Yesh Atid said.
“This was an important visit, in which ambassadors from countries all over the world have received explanations from community leaders and the military,” Shelah said. “There is nothing quite like seeing things with your own eyes to understand what Israel does on a daily basis and what we might be forced to do if, God forbid, we go to war.”