Photo: Knesset channel
Ehud Olmert delivers speech
Photo: Knesset channel

PM: We’ll continue to hunt Hizbullah down

Olmert tells Knesset ‘in every altercation with Hizbullah the IDF soldiers had the upper hand. Hizbullah leaders went into hiding and are lying. We will continue to hunt them down anytime, anywhere’

During his Knesset speech on Monday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert justified the decision to launch the IDF offensive in Lebanon, saying it had resulted in a strategic change in the region and caused severe damage to Hizbullah.


“In every altercation with Hizbullah the IDF soldiers has the upper hand. Hizbullah leaders went into hiding and are lying. We will continue to hunt them down anytime, anywhere." In addition, Olmert promised that the government would advance efforts to rehabilitate the damaged north over the next several years.


According to the prime minister, there were also shortcomings in managing the situation that will needed to be examined. "We won't hide or sweep anything under the rug, but we won't be unnecessarily harsh. We don't have the luxury to wallow in arguments."


He called for the government to stand united behind IDF soldiers. His speech was interrupted a number of time, with cries from the Arab party faction. MK Ahmad Tibi and MK Zahava Gal-On were asked to leave the plenum.


Olmert made it clear that Israel did absorb damages during the war, but added that "Israel has made it clear to the world that it will not accept attacks on it,” he said, adding that the UN Resolution may result in a fundamental change in the situation along the northern border.


“The international community also adheres to the notion that the terror state that was established in Lebanon must be eradicated; states cannot sponsor terror groups anymore,” the prime minister said.


"Members of Knesset – a month ago, the government allowed the IDF to operate against Hizbullah pursuant to the organization's terror activities during which they fired barrages of rockets at northern communities, killed eight IDF soldiers, and kidnapped Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The responsibility for this action rests on my soldiers as prime minister. I have no intention and do not wish to share this responsibility with another. It is a responsibility that derives from my position as prime minister of Israel."


"This decision to not accept the situation caused reverberations in Beirut and around the world, near and far. It emphasized to the world that Israel will not permit threats on its sovereignty, will not turn a blind eye to attacks on its citizens, and will react strongly to any terror attacks either in the north or south, either from the West of the Mediterranean, from anywhere."


Dalia Itzik: Form emergency coalition government


Prior to Olmert's speech, Speaker of the Knesset, MK Dalia Itzik called upon the prime minister to create an emergency coalition government. Itzik declared that "now is the beginning of the hardest part. Now we must concentrate of the future – we need to ask the questions of yesterday for the sake of the citizens of tomorrow. How do we move past this crisis and patch together the fragments that remain after the war?"


The speaker called upon Knesset members to stop fighting. "Our soldiers are in Lebanon and the war has not ended yet. They want to know that there is a consensus and leadership standing behind them. The citizens, who even this morning continued to sit in shelters, want to know that you are working for their sakes. Be patient."


According to Itzik, "It is the government's job to unite the state of Israel regarding the next war that might be forced upon us at any time. This is the call of the hour, our emergency call-up. Right now, with battles still being fought, it is our duty to learn our lessons, unite the best of our forces and minds, and think not of yesterday, but of tomorrow." 


פרסום ראשון: 08.14.06, 16:42
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