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Sunday, November 11, 2012
DM Barak Comments on Events in Gaza & on the Golan Heights

One cannot choose his parents and a nation cannot choose its neighbors.
They are… who they are. Therefore we must be strong and open-eyed.

DM Barak Comments on Events in Gaza & on the Golan Heights
(Communicated by Josh Hantman, International Media Advisor,MOD
dover@mod.gov.il )

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, this evening (Sunday, 11 November 2012), in his
welcoming remarks at the Second International HLS conference in Tel Aviv
http://www.israelhls2012.com/home.ehtml
commented on today's events:

"Following yesterday's incident whereby an anti-tank missile struck an IDF
patrol wounding four soldiers, the IDF responded with force
http://www.idf.il/1283-17526-en/Dover.aspx
Terrorists were killed and dozens more were wounded. In the last month
over twenty active terrorists and to our great sorrow some civilians, have
been killed in the Gaza Strip; there have also been many wounded.

The firing [of rockets] has been relentless today. As far as Israel is
concerned, Hamas is responsible for the rocket-fire and all other attempts
to harm our soldiers and civilians [from Gaza], even when other groups
participate. And it is Hamas that will pay the heavy price; a price that
will be painful.

Israel will not accept in any shape or form Hamas' changing of the 'rules'
along the border with the Gaza Strip. During the last two days, the IDF,
upon my instruction, has been evaluating the host of options for harsher
responses against Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza. We will
strike with an ever-growing intensity.

The IDF is very strong. We target terrorists on a daily basis with powerful
and precise strikes, while the "Iron Dome" batteries have fundamentally
changed the security situation for our citizens. However, we must speedily
complete the protection of the area which stretches from 4.5km to 7km around
Gaza Strip.

Hamas and the other terror organizations recognize the capabilities of the
IDF. If we are forced to go back into Gaza in order to deal Hamas a
[serious] blow and restore security for all of Israel's citizens, then we
will not hesitate to do so."

On Syria, Defense Minister Barak noted:

"After a number of shelling incidents into Israeli territory during recent
weeks, I instructed the IDF to respond in-kind should the situation recur.
Today, another mortar shell was fired from Syria, landing on an IDF outpost.
The Chief of Staff [Lt.Gen. Benny Gantz] ordered the IDF to return fire on
the mortar outpost [from which the mortar was fired]. This was a sign to
Syria that we will not tolerate shelling into our territory
http://www.idf.il/1283-17536-EN/Dover.aspx
A complaint was also lodged with UNDOF.

Syria has been in the midst of a brutal civil war for over a year, and the
IDF has been instructed to prevent the battles from spilling over into our
territory. Additional shelling into Israel from Syria will elicit a tougher
response; exacting a higher price from Syria.

'The Land of Israel is acquired through hardships' (saying from the
Babylonian Talmud)… Even after 64 years, we still haven't found our peace
and quiet. We live in a tough neighborhood; a violent, complicated, and
often bloody neighborhood. One cannot choose his parents and a nation
cannot choose its neighbors. They are… who they are. Therefore we must be
strong and open-eyed. The IDF is strong. Its commanders – headed by the
Chief of Staff – are outstanding. And we trust them.

No one has any illusions. We have more battles ahead of us. We will also
have some tough times ahead of us. But every day that passes, Israel
becomes stronger, more resolute and more grounded. This is what gives us
all the strength to keep us going 'on full power'."

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