Former defense minister continues to insist Israel defeated Hezbollah in 2006, calls on government to release former Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit
Ilana Curiel Published: 03.20.10, 14:05 / Israel News
Knesset Member Amir Peretz (Labor), who served as defense minister during the Second Lebanon War, insisted Saturday that he was a victim of the war and that although he had paid a heavy price for it, he had made his contribution to the State of Israel.
"Even though my binoculars were capped, I saw the future in a much sober manner than those posing with open binoculars," Peretz said during an event in the southern city of Beersheba. He was referring to a famous photograph in which he was seen gazing at a military drill through capped binoculars.
The former defense minister stressed that Israel had won the Second Lebanon War and that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah rose to fame thanks to Israel.
"We made Hassan Nasrallah the star of the Arab world, but turning him into the person who defeated the IDF is far from the truth," he said. "Israel won the Second Lebanon War. We were the ones who were on the ground, and at the end of the war we determined that Nasrallah would leave southern Lebanon."
Moving on to the Iranian issue, the Labor MK clarified that Israel was constantly examining the Iranian nuclear program and the political process in the Islamic Republic.
"We are looking with our eye open in order to see what is happening in Iran – the speed of production of the fissile material which could be used for the bombs, the amount of uranium they are enriching and the level of distillation. We are measuring the times."
As for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Peretz said he supports the release of former Tanzim leader in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti, as part of a prisoner exchange deal.
"Hamas will view it as its own success, and it will make us angry," he said, "but I am ready to tolerate two days of celebration in Gaza. Had we done it two years ago, it would have already been behind us by now."
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