JERUSALEM – In a special session of the Knesset on Tuesday, Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres spoke uncharacteristically tough, stressing Israel’s need to fight and defend itself.
“Israel is not fighting because it has targets in Lebanon. Israel is fighting because it was attacked, making the objective of the war to push back the attacks and to eradicate whoever wants to hurt us,” he said. “Victory against will be declared when their ability to hurt us is diminished.”
Peres appealed to the Lebanese people saying that they threw out the Syrian government and they could also rid the nation of Hizballah.
“This could be your great opportunity,” Peres said, referring to the Lebanese. “You have at your service an army of 80,000 troops. Where are they?”
Hizballah made a strategic error, he said, when it assumed that “with 12,000 rockets, it could break Israel's spirit.”
“In this war, there is no alternative to victory against terrorists,” Peres said. “Morally, Hizballah has already been defeated. It will also be defeated militarily.”
Peres said that once Hizballah was no longer a threat, Israel and Lebanon could make peace.
After the meeting, Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home), told Israel Today that until Israel meets its goals of getting its kidnapped soldiers back, disarming Hizballah and securing national borders and checkpoints, there is no reason for a ceasefire.
“Hizballah won’t use a ceasefire for developing the Lebanese economy, but for rebuilding its arsenal,” he said.
He also said that Syria and Iran were behind Hizballah and its recent provocation against Israel and called on the international community to press those two nations.
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