Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Barak: We are watching Hamas, Syria, and Lebanon

From Ynet News, 8/4/08, by Roni Sofer:

Defense minister attends memorial service for soldier killed on Gaza border, blames Hamas for his death and 'every rocket fired from Gaza'

Israel continues to send messages to Damascus, and this time from the mouth of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He participated in a memorial service for First Sergeant Major Liran Banai, a Givati Brigade soldier who was killed a month ago by an explosive device on the Gaza border. Banai served as his deaf-mute parents' eyes and ears, so his loss was especially painful.

"We are ready, and have our eyes on Syria and Lebanon," [said] Barak

"...I have made it very clear that Israel is the strongest country in the region...We have no interest in fighting, and I believe the Syrians understand this..." ...

"...I don't think anyone can truthfully say it's over. It's not over, but eventually we will bring peace to the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon, and the Gaza border. The fight against terrorism in Gaza is not over yet...." ...

"...I ascribe the relative quiet to the heavy blow we dealt Hamas during 'Warm Winter' operation. They received a bigger blow than they first thought. I have no doubt that the closure on Gaza also helped...." ...

..."There has been a definite improvement in measures taken by the Egyptians to prevent the smuggling of weapons and terrorist activities at the border....the Egyptians didn't like what they saw at the Rafah Crossing – thousands of Palestinians bursting through the border. These days they have been working against this. Still, I don't think they carry the bulk of the responsibility for the calm."

.... Barak remarked that he believed Hamas was responsible for every rocket fired across the border, and for every explosive device, including the one that killed Banai.

"Hamas is sovereign in Gaza, and therefore must pay the price. We will continue to act against them," Barak concluded.

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