Speaking at the Knesset one day after the grave incident in the Lebanese village of Qana, in which more than 60 civilians were killed, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that "there is no and there will be no Israeli commander who will issue an order to hurt uninvolved civilians."
Peretz was forced to deal with harsh interruptions, mainly on the part of Arab Knesset members.
MK Ibrahim Sarsur even called Peretz a "child killer" and was ordered to leave the hall by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. Later, Itzik also ordered MK Talab El-Sana to leave.
One of the members of the National Union-National Religious Party shouted at Itzik: "Remove these traitors from the plenum." Several soldiers who were invited to the Knesset began applauding in response.
Peretz began his comments with warm words for the soldiers who attended the Knesset meeting.
"Soldiers are here who have come from the fighting units. They came here to hear the words of Knesset Members who sent them with their comrades to fight for the State of Israel" (at this point Arab Knesset members begin to heckle Peretz).
"I want to tell you that the display of bravery, sacrifice, comradeship, and deep friendship seen in this campaign is the exposure of a new and sensitive generation, that is willing to do everything for the State of Israel," he added.
"In the name of all Knesset Members – including those who are not willing to be part of the consensus on the war on terror – I want to tell soldiers: We are proud of you. You are doing your job in an exceptional way. Pass this message on to your comrades in every place. At the end, the campaign you are running, the campaign you are carrying out in the name of the Israeli democracy which sent you, will be the one that changes the reality in the area," Peretz said.
"This campaign we are running against terror organizations in Lebanon and Gaza is a war for the home," the defense minister said. "This war arrived too close to our home. We are fighting Hizbullah which is emissary of the extremist regime in Tehran, which is directing it and goading it. We are fighting terror organizations serving a murderous ideology," Peretz said.
"The whole world must know – we didn't choose the military option. The whole should know and remember – we have no territorial conflict on the northern or southern border. Israel left Gaza and has not been in Lebanon for six years already. But terror does not rest for a moment. This is a war forced on us after we did everything to prevent it. We can't continue a policy of shutting our eyes and a double standard differentiating between sovereignty and responsibility," the defense minister declared.