Olmert: We'll fight on until attacks end, soldiers returned
PM repeats cease-fire conditions; calls for soldiers' return, end to rockets.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated his conditions for an end to the military operation in Lebanon on Monday evening, saying that only when those three demands are met will Israel consider a cease-fire.
In his first public address since the start of Israel's offensive in Lebanon last week, Olmert said a cease-fire would first require the return of the two soldiers whose abduction sparked the current conflict, an end to Hezbollah rocket attacks and the deployment of the Lebanese army along the shared border.
"Citizens of Israel, there are moments in the life of a nation, when it is compelled to look directly into the face of reality and say: no more," he said.
"And I say to everyone: no more. Israel will not be held hostage - not by terror gangs or by a terrorist authority or by any sovereign state,"
"There is nothing we want more than peace on all of our borders," Olmert told the Knesset. But he said, "Israel will not agree to live with rockets fired on its citizens, he added. "Only a nation that can protect its freedom deserves it," he stated.
Olmert said that Israel held the Lebanese government responsible for the abductions of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev last Wednesday, even if the government itself was not directly behind the kidnappings.
The prime minister also drew a parallel between the current operations in Gaza and Lebanon, saying that Israel was acting in self-defense on both fronts. Three weeks ago, Corporal Gilad Shalit was snatched from his base close to the Gaza border and has been held by Palestinian militants since.
He said that Israel has "no territorial dispute with our southern neighbors or our northern neighbors," but warned that while "Israel did not ask for this confrontation," it would "continue to fight with full force to stop terror" on both fronts.
The prime minister also accused Syria and Iran, both of whom provide practical support for Hezbollah and Hamas, of aggravating the violence.
"Iran and Syria are still interfering in Lebanese and Palestinian Authority affairs through Hezbollah and Hamas," he said.
He said that although Israel "has no intention of interfering in internal Lebanese matters," it was nonetheless "fighting against a terror organization operating in Lebanon."