Speaking in front of soldiers at the headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces Judea and Samaria Division, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel is not about to give up and will do its utmost to protect the safety of its citizens in light of the current threats in the region.
The visit to the headquarters also included Defense Minister Amir Peretz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen.Yair Naveh, and other top brass from the division and the IDF.
During the visit Olmert also spoke to the troops present and told them that they are the spearhead of the State of Israel and praised their day to day job in protecting Israel. "There is nothing more proper than to aspire towards a diplomatic settlement. This is the goal. We must think how we can influence the quality of life and the economic situation of the other side. There are those who are not engaged in terrorism and we must act to strengthen the moderates," he said.
Olmert added that the IDF will do what is necessary to protect the citizens of Israel. "This is the true culture of the IDF. Mistakes will be examined and corrected. Nowhere in the world are people of this caliber. We will do our utmost so that you feel the love, appreciation and gratitude that the State of Israel owes you," Olmert conclude.
During the visit Prime Minister Olmert also conducted an operational meeting with senior Division officers and was briefed on current security operations, recent developments in the Palestinian Authority and the lessons of the war in Lebanon.
At the end of the visit, the prime minister lit Hanukkah candles with soldiers and officers and said: "I know that we have gone through difficult days and that we are dealing with a complex reality. But I know that the strength of the people of Israel is great. This is because there are no limits to their bravery, heroism, determination, sacrifice, sophistication and, above all, to their love of the Land. These qualities have always stood for us in every situation. On behalf of the nation, I would like to thank you for everything that you are doing, for the days and long nights, in order to bring quiet and tranquility. I know how hard you are working and can say that the nation thanks you and salutes your commanders led by the Chief of Staff.”