Two years after the Second Lebanon War, it appears Prime Minister Ehud Olmert still believes Israel came out on top. "Everyone knows Hizbullah fears a confrontation with Israel. It's scared to death," Olmert remarked during an interview with the Arab Israeli newspaper Al-Sinara, published in Nazareth.
In the interview, to be included in Friday's edition, the prime minister said he did not regret his decision to start the Second Lebanon War, and reiterated the position by which he would not hesitate to respond in the same manner if Hizbullah were to perform similar acts in the future.
"I don't regret my decision (to start) the war," Olmert said, adding that one of its most significant outcomes was the peace currently prevalent on the northern border. "It has been two years since a shell last fell on that area and this is thanks to the new deterring balance. Hizbullah is very cautious, and is careful not to disrupt this balance. It is the one that has lost, and everyone knows Hizbullah fears a confrontation with Israel. It's scared to death."
The prime minister also spoke regarding the negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians, and expressed hopes that his government would acquire peace on both fronts shortly. He stressed that an agreement with the Palestinians could be accomplished by the end of US President George W. Bush's term.
Olmert also called on the Israeli Arabs to integrate themselves within the country and influence its policies, and not to accept anything less than full and equal citizenship. According to Olmert, he is the first prime minister to recognize the discrimination against the Arab citizens, and is therefore working towards reducing this gap.