In view of the growing criticism at home and abroad of the Government's decision and manner of removing the 415 Hamas activists, the prime minister explained the nature of this organization and its threat not only to Israel, but to Egypt and other Arab countries. Speaking at a Histadrut meeting in Netanya, he gave details of the removal and outlined the nature of the propaganda campaign waged against Israel on this issue which ignored the true nature and intentions of Islamic fundamentalism of which Hamas was a branch. Excerpts:
As prime minister I experienced many, perhaps too many wars. I also saw the painful price of wars. Also on the other side. I saw the ugly faces of the war: of violence, terrorism and all matters related to the attempt of attaining political goals through means of violence, terrorism and wars. I wish, I intend, to reach peace - but a peace that will provide security.
Our policy stands on two pillars. The direction towards peace with the understanding that peace must be achieved with those who are our enemies today. With friends, there is no need [to make] peace. Peace must be made with those who are our enemies today, with the aim to cease hostility, violence, terrorism and wars - and build together a structure of peace, and for that reason [peace] must be made from a position of willingness to compromise - mutual compromise.
We are marching towards the direction of peace in two ways: one is the peace negotiations; however - in order to march towards peace we need a second way: the security-military, and other, activities against those who attempt to impair the security of the state and the security of its citizens, and certainly against those who, because of their radical-fanatic Muslim insanity, attempt to kill Israelis, Jews and non-Jews alike, kill Palestinians who oppose their way - and above all - through these activities kill the chance for peace.
Today, the radical-fundamentalist Islam constitutes a threat to moderate Arab regimes such as: Egypt, Jordan and other countries. Not only to us. The connection of the Palestinian radical-fundamentalist organizations - Hamas and the Islamic Jihad - with Iran, as well as its support and willingness to serve its goals, are of no benefit to the Palestinians in the territories or the Palestinians in general. They are part of the system: a megalomanic system headed by Iran which leads and sends arms of terrorism against Islam from within; against Christians and Jews and certainly against the State of Israel. There are some in the Arab world who understand this and fight the radical Islam. I will not mention names of countries, you can learn about this later on the news.
The course of action implemented by Israel was against the Palestinian radical fundamentalist Islam, which performed almost all of the murders of Israelis, namely soldiers and civilians:
It was this organization which prepared the two car-bombs in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the explosive placed next to Nir Mattityahu, the murder of the three soldiers, the soldier in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the kidnapping and the murder of Command Sergeant Major Toledano. And they did not wait to talk. Within two to six hours after the expiration of the first ultimatum they killed Toledano in cold blood, by strangulation and stabbings.
Thus, as opposed to what was published in the press: the 415 Hamas activists are not in no man's land; they are five kilometers north, at the tip of the security zone. They are located one kilometer away from the Lebanese army outpost in the area under its control: the Lebanese army is next to them.
The tents' were set up by the Red Cross or the Lebanese Red Crescent. They are placed in an area where [people] live and cultivate Lebanese lands, which are not inside the security zone. They set up this camp as part of the propaganda campaign to blur their real identity, because, who is the Hamas?, who is the Islamic Jihad?, what is the intention behind the criminal acts of the Islamic-fundamentalist branch among the Palestinians? - and not only there. And the Hizballah in Lebanon? And the Islamic-fundamentalist factor? - that everything they wanted 11 years ago was to murder the first Arab leader who dared to reach peace with Israel - President Sadat. They murdered him because he had a different Egyptian-Muslim world perception, and that is - to sign a peace treaty with the State of Israel. No negotiations can be conducted with them.
It would have been better had Palestinian leaders stood up and denounced those belonging to the fundamentalist Islam, instead of courting them.
They are the enemies of peace, the enemies of the relatively-developed and moderate Arab countries. Enemies of all advancement in the Middle East.
The Arab world - the world in general - will pay, if the cancer of the radical fundamentalist Islam is not halted at the house-of-study of Khomeini and his followers in Iran. (...)
We should remember this - and I will fight as long as the decision lies in the hands of the Government, without hurting neither the peoples friendly to Israel nor the United Nations; with all due respect, the Hamas activists who incite or aid in these terrible criminal activities will remain in Lebanon.
We do not seek confrontations with any of our friends - and neither with the international institutions - nonetheless, our decision is that of the Government of Israel. We did not implement the expulsion with the characteristics of the past; we determined a temporary removal of up to two years. The removed persons were given the possibility to submit, either through a family relative or attorney, an appeal to the military committee headed by military judges which, in the capacity of committee, will not only issue a recommendation, but is also authorized to make decisions.
It should be hoped that also in the future, the Supreme Court, in its capacity as the High Court of Justice, will continue to enact verdicts which will support the decisions of the Government when appealed or demanded, and present its verdict within thirty days - as only the Court is authorized to determine the limitations of the Government: not others. Not from outside, as nations or international bodies. This is our decision.