Why the current conflict involving Israel?

Find here the address by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the Knesset last Monday. He speaks with blinding clarity about the present situation. Some excerpts:

Over the past few weeks, our enemies have challenged the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the safety of its residents - first in the southern sector, then on the northern border, and deeper into the home front.

Israel did not seek these confrontations. On the contrary. We have done a lot to prevent them. We returned to the borders of the State of Israel, recognized by the entire international community. There were those who misconstrued our desire for peace - for us and our neighbors - as a sign of frailty. Our enemies misinterpreted our willingness to exercise restraint as a sign of weakness. They were wrong!

The State of Israel has no territorial conflict, neither on our southern border nor on our northern one. In these two areas, we are sitting on the recognized international border - both vis-.-vis the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, and in Lebanon. We have no intention of interfering in their internal affairs. On the contrary, stability and tranquility in Lebanon, free of the rule of foreign powers, and in the Palestinian Authority, are in Israel's interest.

The campaign we are engaged in these days is against the terror organizations operating from Lebanon and Gaza. These organizations are nothing but "sub-contractors" operating under the inspiration, permission, instigation and financing of the terror-sponsoring and peace-rejecting regimes, on the Axis of Evil which stretches from Tehran to Damascus.

Radical, terrorist and violent elements are sabotaging the life of the entire region and placing its stability at risk. The region in which we live is threatened by these murderous terror groups. It is a regional - as well as global - interest to take control and terminate their activity.

We intend to do this. We will continue to operate in full force until we achieve this. On the Palestinian front, we will conduct a tireless battle until terror ceases, Gilad Shalit is returned home safely and the shooting of Qassam missiles stops. And in Lebanon, we will insist on compliance with the terms stipulated long ago by the international community, as unequivocally expressed only yesterday in the resolution of the 8 leading countries of the world

On both fronts we are exercising self-defense in the most basic and essential sense. In both cases, it is a matter whose importance and significance go far beyond the size of the military units involved. We are at a national moment of truth. Will we consent to living under the threat of this Axis of Evil or will we mobilize our inner strength and show determination and equanimity?

All of us - Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians - now stand as one person, as one nation, subject together to the same hatred and malice, and fighting against it in consensus and partnership. When missiles are launched at our residents and cities, our answer will be war with all the strength, determination, valor, sacrifice and dedication which characterize this nation.

There was a Solidarity with Israel rally held in Melbourne on the same day: Seven speakers including three Members of Parliament. To see photos and read some of the speeches, click here


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