Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said today that Israel had agreed to limit the air force’s activities to 48 hours, but stressed that the Israel Defense Forces will deepen and expand its activities against Hizballah.
In an address given during a special session of the Knesset Peretz said that Israel should not agree to an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon because we might find ourselves within a few months back to where we started. “A ceasefire now would only strengthen the extremists,” he said.
Peretz added that the IDF has already dealt a major blow to Hizballah’s rocket launching capabilities.
In regard to the multinational force to be deployed in Lebanon, Peretz said that Israel is adamant that this force will have enforcement capabilities and could act decisively against terrorist entities attempting to return to the area. The force will also be required to oversee all border crossings between Syria and Lebanon.
Peretz said in his address that the fighting in Lebanon and in Gaza was forced upon us. We did not choose a military option, but it is a war against our home and we will win. “We have no territorial dispute with Lebanon and in the south with the Palestinian Authority, but we cannot continue a policy of turning a blind eye.”
Peretz added that “while the IDF is doing all it can to avoid hurting civilians, our enemies are firing without discrimination at population centers and sending suicide bombers to hurt civilians.”
“There is no Israeli pilot that received orders to hurt civilians. There is not, and there will never be an Israeli commander that will give an order to hit civilians. Only a few weeks ago I met a soldier that had returned from an operation in Gaza. He told me that he saw a terrorist holding an RPG launcher in one hand and a child in the other. He decided not to fire at him. I asked him why he had decided not to shoot. He told me he was afraid to hurt the child, but the terrorist he will probably meet in the next alley. That is the IDF!” said Peretz. “It’s a moral code that is instilled in every soldier. When we hurt civilians it is a failure and a tragedy which we investigate. For them it is a victory.”
The Defense Minister went on to say that the Lebanese government has abandoned the population of south Lebanon to the hands of Hizballah.