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RealClearPolitics - Articles - Israeli PM Ehud Olmert

Last Build Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 17:00:50 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

A National Moment of Truth

Mon, 17 Jul 2006 17:00:50 -0600

Madam Speaker, Members of Knesset, The State of Israel has no territorial conflict, neither on our southern border nor on our northern one. In these two areas, we are sitting on the recognized international border - both vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, and in Lebanon. We have no intention of interfering in their internal affairs. On the contrary, stability and tranquility in Lebanon, free of the rule of foreign powers, and in the Palestinian Authority, are in Israel's interest. We yearn for the day when peace will prevail between us, for the mutual benefit of our peoples from both sides of our common border. The campaign we are engaged in these days is against the terror organizations operating from Lebanon and Gaza. These organizations are nothing but "sub-contractors" operating under the inspiration, permission, instigation and financing of the terror-sponsoring and peace-rejecting regimes, on the Axis of Evil which stretches from Tehran to Damascus. Lebanon has suffered heavily in the past, when it allowed foreign powers to gamble on its fate. Iran and Syria still continue to meddle, from afar, in the affairs of Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, through Hizballah and the Hamas. Even if last Wednesday's criminal attack against an IDF patrol was carried out without the consent of the Lebanese government and without the assistance of its military, this does not absolve it of full responsibility for the attack which emanated from its sovereign territory. Just as the fact that the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority opposes terrorism against Israel does not relieve him and the Palestinian Authority of their responsibility for the attack carried out from their territory against our soldiers in Kerem Shalom. They are both fully responsible for the safety of our soldiers who were taken hostage. Radical, terrorist and violent elements are sabotaging the life of the entire region and placing its stability at risk. The region in which we live is threatened by these murderous terror groups. It is a regional - as well as global - interest to take control and terminate their activity. We can all see how the majority of the international community supports our battle against the terror organizations and our efforts to remove this threat of the Middle East. We intend to do this. We will continue to operate in full force until we achieve this. On the Palestinian front, we will conduct a tireless battle until terror ceases, Gilad Shalit is returned home safely and the shooting of Qassam missiles stops. And in Lebanon, we will insist on compliance with the terms stipulated long ago by the international community, as unequivocally expressed only yesterday in the resolution of the eight leading countries of the world: * The return of the hostages, Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev; * A complete cease fire; * Deployment of the Lebanese army in all of southern Lebanon; * Expulsion of Hizbullah from the area, and fulfillment of United Nations Resolution 1559. We will not suspend our actions. On both fronts we are exercising self-defense in the most basic and essential sense. In both cases, it is a matter whose importance and significance go far beyond the size of the military units involved. We are at a national moment of truth. Will we consent to living under the threat of this Axis of Evil or will we mobilize our inner strength and show determination and equanimity? Our answer is clear to every Israeli, and it echoes today throughout the entire region. We will search every compound, target every terrorist who assists in attacking the citizens of Israel, and destroy every terrorist infrastructure, everywhere. We will persist until Hizbullah and Hamas comply with those basic and decent things required of them by every civilized person. Israel will not agree to live in the shadow of missiles or rockets against its residents. Citizens of Israel, There are moments in the life of a nation, when it is compelled to look directly into the face of reality and say: no more![...]