Vice Premier Shimon Peres rejected claims by the Likud-led opposition that the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit has dented Israel's deterrence against Palestinian groups operating in the Gaza Strip.
"They say that what happened to Gilad Shalit endangers Israel's deterrence. I strongly dispute that. Israel's deterrence was not and will not be undermined," Peres said during a conference in Beer Sheva Tuesday.
Peres stressed that Israel will not give in to the ultimatum and will not negotiate with the abductors. "We are no suckers. We will do what needs to be done morally and politically, but those who act like bullies in a jungle must not be encouraged," he stated.
'Don't lose confidence'
"I suggest that the Palestinians negotiate with themselves. Should we reward them for kidnapping? for killing two soldiers? for firing Katyushas on Sderot? It's up to the Palestinians that they get their own state. The terrorist sabotage the Palestinian people's future with the help of the great (Syrian President Bashar) Assad who's first rate at doing nonsense," the vice premier said.
"After we left Gaza, our border was infiltrated against any logic… do they really think they can found a state in which soldiers would be allowed to abduct soldiers?" he concluded.