Defense Minister Amir Peretz said
told the Israeli Emergency Economy body during a meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday afternoon that the Israel Defense Forces operation in Lebanon has reached "perhaps on of its most crucial stages."
Peretz said: "The State of Israel is
facing one of the most important trial hours because of the intensification of the events we are going through. Both the war front and the home front, Israeli citizens are courageously standing and they understand the importance of succeeding. On the war front our soldiers are sacrificing themselves fir the State of Israel out of belief that the war is for the house. Rockets are falling and harming families and children, and I see today as the most important test."
Peretz said it is important that the world understands that Israel is fighting terror with no inhibition. "The international community has to stand by Israel and we need to broadcast that we are defending ourselves. I want to remind that we have no intention of occupying Lebanon and
no intention of occupying Gaza. Under no circumstances will we let elements drag us into the Gazan swamp or the Lebanese swamp."
He turned to Israeli citizens saying they should back the army and to broadcast a message to the whole world that Israel is strong.
"The diplomatic process will complete the military operation, but the military process will create the broadest political space so that the upcoming agreements will give us peace for years to come and then they will not be agreed out of weakness but out of a recognition by the world that Israel is strong and knows how to defend itself," he said.