(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

A very grave event occurred today (Wednesday), 12 July 2006, inside the territory of the State of Israel. A Hizbullah force crossed our northern border and attacked a routine IDF patrol. As a result of this attack, eight soldiers were killed, soldiers and civilians were wounded and the invading force abducted two soldiers to Lebanese territory.

This action, along with the events of the past month, creates a new and complex reality that compels us to deal with it. Today’s attack, like the 25 June 2006 attack at Kerem Shalom, is the product of those who perpetrate terrorism and those who give it shelter.

Israel views the sovereign Lebanese Government as responsible for the action that originated on its soil and for the return of the abducted soldiers to Israel. Israel demands that the Lebanese Government implement UN Security Council Resolution #1559.

However, there is no doubt that Hizbullah, a terrorist organization operating inside Lebanon, initiated and perpetrated today’s action; Israel will act against it in a manner required by its actions.

Israel must respond with the necessary severity to this act of aggression and it will indeed do so. Israel will respond aggressively and harshly to those who carried out, and are responsible for, today’s action, and will work to foil actions and efforts directed against it.

The international community understands that every country, including Israel, must act aggressively against enemy targets such as Hizbullah.

The new reality in which the State of Israel is operating requires special readiness especially in light of the possibility that the enemy will seek to attack the home front. Defense Minister Amir Peretz has instructed GOC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Gershon and the other relevant officials to fully prepare for the new reality and its ramifications.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “Due to the sensitivity of the issue, I ask that the Cabinet approve the recommendations that have been submitted by the security establishment and authorize myself, Defense Minister Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Industry, Trade and Employment Minister Eli Yishai, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter to approve the detailed actions that have been presented by the security establishment.”