Speaking to mayors of northern Israeli towns in Tel Aviv, the prime minister said, “We should never have allowed the terror state established by Hizbullah beyond our border to grow stronger.
“To those nations who criticize us we say ‘you would never accept such murderous attacks on your citizens’,” he declared.
Olmert continued: “We are fighting against ruthless terrorists and we will not stop until they are pushed back from our border. This campaign
“The cabinet members and I said we would have to be patient in order to reach all the terrorists, locate their hiding places and damage their rocket launchers. We said we would be willing to pay the heaviest price – human life – as well as the price of disrupting our daily routine and the loss of our ‘joie de vivre.’ We knew this and decided that there is no other way but to respond in a comprehensive and uncompromising manner.”
According to Olmert, “They should not have been allowed to accumulate more missiles, more rockets, and more deadly weapons. If we had continued to practice restraint, a day would have come – and it wouldn’t have been far – on which the rocket barrages could have caused irreparable damage.”
“We decided to respond with war, and we will only be through when the threat is removed, when kidnapped soldiers Udi Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit and their soldier colleagues return home safely, and you will be able to reside securely in your homes, on the streets of towns and villages, and in your work places,” Olmert pledged.
‘We won’t give up our right to normal life’
Olmert addressed at length the losses and troubles generated by the Hizbullah rocket threat: “We are paying a high price, painful to no end, in human lives, in the interruption of routine, in the loss of personal security and in the tremendous destruction of private and public property.
“We are not prepared to yield our right to lead simple lives, without terrorism and without the incessant turbulence of threats, fanaticism and hatred. We are not willing to give up our right to a normal life like any other, like any society in any place.”
The prime minister further expressed his deep pain over the loss of IDF soldiers in the fighting in Lebanon, saying they were in his thoughts continuously.