“Attempts to make the war in Lebanon out to look like a failure miss the truth and create exaggeration. This war had very important achievements which are becoming clearer with time,” he added.
From left to right: Maj-Gen Benny Gantz, Peretz and Halutz, and at commemoration event (Photo: Niv Kalderon)
With regards to the Syrian issue, Peretz said that just as Israel should not ignore “voices of war” heard from Syria, it also should not ignore the “voices of peace” in Damascus. “It is our duty to do everything we can to look into every possibility for peace,” he said.
Peretz pointed out that the war proved that Israel was not willing to act nonchalant while its citizens and soldiers were getting hurt. “It’s important to say that the IDF had the upper hand in every direct confrontation with Hizbullah. IDF soldiers were the ones the won and achieved goals,” he explained.
The defense minister also mentioned malfunctions and faults both in unit training and emergency equipment supplies but that despite it all “the IDF’s fighting spirit overcame it all and won the war”.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, who spoke at the event, also referred to deficiencies during the war, and assured that investigations were nearly over and that lessons learned would be implemented.
Halutz spoke with many injured soldiered who arrived at the event, shook their hands, and hugged them. He also wore a flag of the Golani Division given to him by soldiers of the 51st battalion who fought in Bint Jbel, where they lost eight of their fellow troops.
Regarding Qassam rocket fire, Peretz said that Israel was giving the ceasefire a chance, although he regretted that it was continually being breached by Qassam rocket launchers.
“It must be clear, there can’t be a ceasefire in which our citizens are attacked without response, so we will act against the Qassam rocket launchers and we won’t let anyone harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel without them knowing there is a price for that injury,” he said.
Peretz also addressed the easing of restrictions in store for the Palestinian population following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“The security establishment is working on making significant changes in Palestinian daily life. We are putting together a security view that says protecting the daily life of Palestinians does not contradict our own would view, we are fighting terror, not the Palestinian people,” he said.