A group of UN ambassadors visited southern Israel on Tuesday to get an idea of tension, stress and fear that the residents of the area face every day under threat of Gaza missile attacks.
One of the group's stops was at the family home of Moshe Agadi, the first of four Israelis killed in this week's terrorist missile barrage. They also visited a nearby school that was damaged by the rockets.
The ambassadors hailed from Honduras, Malawi, Latvia, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, and the island republic of Kiribati. They were hosted and led on the tour by Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, and by Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Galam, who told the visiting diplomats of the impossible situation that the residents of his city face.
The ambassador from Lithuania expressed his condolences to the mayor and residents of the city. "We are here to learn more about the background and the targets that were attacked," he said. "We understand the need for the State of Israel to protect its citizens. Everyone is worried about these developments. We are glad that there has been a truce and that the sides have resumed talks to find a solution that will prevent tragedies like this in the future."
Danon added: "We came to Ashkelon to strengthen the citizens of the south and expose Hamas aggression. It is time for the UN Security Council to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization that commits war crimes and exploits its citizens as human shields."
During the visit to the home of Moshe Agadi, Danon said, "We felt what the whole people of Israel are experiencing. The city of Ashkelon has experienced a tragedy. We are here to identify with the residents and tell them that the world is aware of their situation."
Mayor Galam told the ambassadors that there appears to be no end to these "rounds of fighting," which threaten the people living in the area about every three months. "It's very hard at a time like this to give citizens answers to their difficult questions, such as how can things like this be allowed to happen continuously," he explained. "Sadly, we're forced to raise a generation in this terrible reality."
The ambassador from Honduras commented on the impressions of her visit: "It is shocking to see not only the damage, but also the life that was lost. We must do something to prevent the loss of civilians' lives. We identify with the families. We hope that the international community can bring about a change and that this marks an opportunity for change and the prevention of further loss of lives. The disagreements must be solved through dialogue. The dialogue must lead to a better future."