Photo: Gil Yohanan
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Reuters
Putin. Disappointed
Photo: Reuters

Olmert: I believe IDF

In cabinet meeting Sunday, prime minister voices support for army in face of international criticism over Gaza tragedy. Defense Minister Peretz says IDF investigation reliable

While the Gaza beach tragedy that claimed the lives of seven Palestinian family members continues to make headlines worldwide, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remained firm in his backing of the IDF.


"I believe the IDF completely and count on Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the army," Olmert stated during Sunday's cabinet meeting.


Peretz, on his part, stressed he has no doubts regarding the probe into the incident.


"I personally examined the IDF's conclusions regarding the deaths of the Ghalia family members on the Gaza beach twice. The investigation is very reliable and the process of the probe wasn't difficult," he said.


Peretz reiterated the army's claim that the shrapnel recovered from the body of the Palestinian girl at the Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva does not belong to a 115-milimeter artillery shell used by the IDF, and that "it could have originated in a device placed by someone else."


Peres: Putin disappointed with Hamas


Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog referred to the publicity battle over Israel's image the country have been conducting in the last week, and said that the country "was not defeated in the fight. It is a struggle, and in the meantime the findings of the investigation prove we were not involved."


During the meeting, Vice Premier Shimon Peres told the ministers about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan.


"Russia is very disappointed with Hamas because it does not meet the Quartet's conditions and encourages terror," he said.


He added that he called on the Russian president to stop transferring funds to the Hamas-led government, as the money "will eventually reach terrorists, and it is better to learn from the European Union's experience."


According to Peres, Putin promised that Russia "would not act behind Israel's back."


The ministers are expected to approve special aid to Sderot and rocket-battered Gaza vicinity communities. Referring to the war on Qassams, Minister Amir Peretz said that "if we see Hamas escalating its activity against us, there will be no reductions."


פרסום ראשון: 06.18.06, 12:08
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