May 24, 2007
Rocket shrapnel from recent attacks sent to Israeli embassies in Britain, France, EU headquarters as part of PR campaign
Qassam in Sderot Photo: AP
by Lilach Shoval
The Foreign Ministry sent Qassam rockets to Israeli embassies in Paris, London and the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Thursday evening. The ambassadors have been instructed to bring the rockets along to their meetings, in order to explain Israel's security challenges to the world.
The rockets of choice are not functional. Rather, they are the charred remains of the recent barrages on Sderot and neighboring Gaza vicinity towns. Transferred to the Foreign Ministry by the Israel Police, they were heavily wrapped and sent over by diplomatic mail.
The government hopes that displaying the rockets in Europe will improve Israel's ability to explain its situation to the international community, which for the most part chooses to address the pinpoint IDF strikes in Gaza rather than indiscriminate attacks from Gaza.
The Foreign Ministry transferred Katyusha shrapnel by diplomatic mail for similar purposes during the Second Lebanon War.
"It's important for us to illustrate the situation physically because the international community is weary of the conflict in the Middle East," said ministry sources.
Advancing Israel's cause
In addition to sending rockets, the ministry is trying to advance Israel's cause in many other ways.Foreign Ministry Director General Aharon Abramovitch held several meetings with a team searching for diplomatic solutions to Israel's problem in Gaza, among them advocacy efforts.
As such, Israeli ambassadors worldwide were instructed to explain that Israel must respond to ongoing Qassam barrages. United Nations envoy Dan Gillerman, last week, presented a complaint regarding the rocket attacks to the UN Security Council.
Also last week, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni briefed foreign diplomats in Israel about the situation in the Gaza vicinity, and visited Sderot with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
At that time, Solana was shown pictures drawn by children from Sderot, who are trying to express their feelings about the difficult situation. The pictures will later be posted on the Foreign Ministry's website. מודעה
The ministry and the Jewish Agency have tried, in recent days, to find Sderot residents willing to join them next week in Europe and serve as spokespeople for the rocket-plagued region.
However, not all of the ministry's diplomatic ideas focus on advocacy. One proposed solution is to encourage the creation of a multilateral force to sit in Gaza to preserve regional quiet.