Defense Minister Amir Peretz spoke on Tuesday in front of troops at the Israel Defense Forces Southern Command of the Gaza Division and expressed his sentiments regarding the public pressure to act forcefully in Gaza, saying that public pressure is not a motivation to act.
“I have no intention of authorizing any military activities as a response for public pressure, and I have no intention of allowing a large-scale incursion to appease public opinion. The military actions will be an answer to the security threats. Those are the parameters. This is why tunnels, launch sites, and other threats will justify military actions on any scale,” Peretz said.
Peretz added that the IDF is constantly initiating activities in a way never performed before. “In any place I came to the conclusion that an IDF incursion is necessary, I made the decision to act. I authorized actions in Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia, and the Philadelphi Route actions, as well as activities performed by special forces. The initiative is in the hands of the IDF. This is the way it is today, and this is the way it will be in the future.”
Peretz also referred to the role of Egypt in helping to uncover tunnels and combat the smuggling of weapons, and said that Israel is demanding they keep up their end of the bargain. “However, every time we arrive at a conclusion and we will have the necessary information to act, we will do so.
The Defense Minister also indicated that he thought the withdrawal from Gaza was correct. “We have no intention of reoccupying the Gaza Strip and regaining responsibility for schools, hospitals, and other civilian issues. I hope nobody is intending on dragging Israel into that position. Our answers are direct solutions to the impending threats. There is no doubt that the level of threats has risen significantly, and so did the level of our activities. We have no intention of returning there again, and just like I said in the past, we will not allow Gaza to be turned into south Lebanon.”