In a briefing before members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that the last of Israeli forces in Lebanon will leave by the beginning of next week. He added that there are no armed Hizballah fighters on the fence endangering Israel Defense Forces and Israeli citizens.
Peretz said that Hizballah is paying each family hit by IDF bombings between $13,000 and $15,000. This aid, he said, strengthens Hizballah’s standing in Lebanon and the affiliation to Iran.
In regard to potential talks with Syria, Peretz said that if there are serious intentions for peace from them, Israel should not shut the door on them and seriously consider their offers. He added, however, that the signals coming from Damascus are largely due to international pressure and internal pressure, and as of today, the conditions for talks with the Syrians have not yet ripened.
Regarding the Palestinian autonomous areas, Peretz said that during the last two weeks, security forces have thwarted 10 suicide attacks in various stages of planning. According to him, there are still warnings of potential attacks coming from the West Bank.