Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I received a transcript of Ehud Olmert's responses to questions from the international press from the other day (don't have a link) and thought it worth reposting some of the more interesting answers:

On demands for "proportionality":

What exactly is the criterion by which one measures the proportion of more than a thousand missiles shot at innocent civilians against the measures that were taken by the State of Israel in the last few days? Can one measure the anxiety, the fear, the shocks, the lack of security of tens of thousands of people living day-in and day-out for almost a year under the constant threat of missiles shot at them? When was the last time that the European Union condemned this shooting and suggested measures, effective measures to stop it? We were waiting and waiting and waiting and everyone knows that Israel pulled out entirely from Gaza precisely in order to try and establish a new basis of cooperation and understanding with the Palestinians, when there can be no claim for any territory by the Palestinians in the south part of the country. And the response was terror and terror and terror and terror again. So at some point Israel had no choice but to take some measures in order to stop this threat. And I think that this is the desire of the Palestinian people as well. I have no doubt in my mind that the majority of the Palestinian people sympathize with the demand of Israel that this violence will be stopped. They are victims of it - we are victims of it. They want to stop it - we want to stop it. They don't know want to be held captives by the terrorist organizations which have no regard for the basic needs of the Palestinian people and therefore this is something that all the countries that care for us and for the Palestinians, must join forces together in order to stop. And that's basically what we are doing and I think that once the Kassam shooting will be stopped and the terrorist actions against innocent civilians will be halted altogether, there will be no need for any Israeli action in Gaza.

On Hamas lawmakers:

Now, about Hamas, this could be much a more fair and serious challenge had there not been more than three hundred missiles shot at Israelis from Gaza in the last month. I mean, when you ask about this operation, the Palestinian government is a terrorist government. This is the first time in modern history that there is a whole government which is a terrorist government. This is not a government which is influenced by terror, this is not a government which sympathizes terror, this government is terror. And many of the prominent leaders of this government are deeply involved in terror and that's why they were arrested. They were arrested because there was evidence against the Palestinians, the Hamas ministers and members of Parliament in being directly involved in terrorist actions. So, we have no particular desire to topple the Hamas government as a policy. We have a particular desire to stop terrorists from inflicting terror on the Israeli people and whoever is involved in terror will have to pay for it and that's exactly why we have arrested some of those members of Parliament and ministers who use the umbrella of democracy in order to abuse the basic goodwill that people have for democracy for the sake of terror.

On some of the measures Israel has taken, such as bombing the power station:

I want to remind you that Gaza is entirely dependent on Israel for the supply of water and electricity and that we continue to supply Gaza water and electricity. I am not aware that any of the very friendly nations to the Palestinians offered the Palestinians to supply them with this basic commodities which are essential for the quality of life of the people in Gaza or in the West Bank. Israel is the only country which is doing it, at a very fair cost. And the reason we are doing it is because we care for the population and we don't want to punish the population in either Gaza or the West Bank. The measures that were taken in this military operation were taken for the sole purpose, or purposes which I have outlined to you before.

One is to make the possible release of Corporal Shalit a reality and the other is to try and stop the Kassam missile shooting at Israeli civilians.

The measures including the damage to the power stations was part of an effort to have a more effective control on the crossings and on the movements because we were afraid that the Israeli corporal will be smuggled out of Gaza and that once he will not be in this controlled area, he might be lost entirely. And some of the measures that were taken, were taken for that purpose...

...tell me do you think your country would have supplied electricity for a state which is shooting at Great Britain one thousand missiles? In return for the generosity of shooting at you a thousand missiles, you would have supplied them with electricity and if you cut the supply about one third - it's not that there is no supply of electricity by Israel. There is still most of the, all of the electricity of Gaza is supplied by Israel and 70% of the population still have supply of electricity. All is provided by Israel, in spite of the shooting. There was in the past sometimes a flexible definition of war crimes, particularly by some biased unprincipled and unfair people, so I'm not responsible for the definition of these actions outside of their context, but every person with a reasonable moral principle would have first to answer the question what do you say to people that are continuously threatened by the shooting of missiles, what do they have to do in order to defend their own lives and the lives of their children?...

...I think that I don’t know of one democratic government in the world, one, one - those who support us, and those who preach to us - that would have sat and done nothing when a thousand missiles are shot at innocent civilians in the heart of the country. I can imagine that some of those countries that preach to us would have done a lot more in a more brutal and vicious and cruel way against civilian populations than what we did, the minimum that we are doing in order to defend our people...

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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