Text size

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had a testy press conference Friday in Washington, D.C., moments after she signed an agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meant to combat arms smuggling to Gaza.

From the starting moments of the press conference, Livni was beset by a less-than friendly barrage of questions, with a number of journalists asserting that Israel's military operations in Gaza will only make Middle East peace more distant.

Some journalists went so far as to compare the Israeli government to that of dictator Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, due to Israel's decision to bar journalists from Gaza.

One of the more tense moments came when one journalist began to quote at length a Human Rights report on the situation in Gaza, before asking Livni to comment on "the murder of innocent civilians in the Strip."

When the man was asked to finish his question, he yelled out that Livni had been speaking for an hour and that the journalists weren't being allowed to ask questions. He then asked since when the U.S. has been hosting "terrorists".

To her credit, Livni managed to keep her cool, and expressed her desire to answer the question. When he finished, she answered that Israel "did not want to get involved in the internal matters of the Palestinian Authority, that's why we left the Gaza Strip unilaterally, but we got terror in return. We try all we can to avoid harming civilians, but it happens."

A number of other journalists asked questions that included quotes from the human rights report, asking if Israel needs to be held responsible for the failure of the cease-fire due to the decision to enact a blockade on the Gaza Strip.

While she was speaking inside, a protest was being held outside the building by an anti-war group calling themselves "Code Pink", who repeatedly chanted "there is a war criminal in this building."