Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres met yesterday (Sunday) with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier. “Israel will do all it can to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, and will allow the international community to provide Lebanon with all the humanitarian assistance it needs at any time", Peres stated at the end of the meeting.        

At the start of the meeting, Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres told the German Foreign Minister that Iran in effect finances Hizbullah’s existence, at the rate of $100 million annually, and, as of now, more than 100 instructors of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are in Lebanon. Thus, the Vice Prime Minister added, "The international community should realize that in order to lower the flames, they must deal as well with the source of the fire."

Peres also stated that "Israel has no political or territorial ambition. It wants only the return of the kidnapped soldiers, to stop Hizbullah activities altogether and to enable, together with the international community, the Lebanese army to deploy along the border, and under meticulous supervision, to disarm Hizbullah of its arsenal of missiles and arms that threaten Israel’s citizens.”

Vice Prime Minister Peres also related that Israel would not compromise the security of its citizens and noted the determination and steadfastness of the Israeli people. Peres stated, "Hizbullah has not managed to undermine the strength or spirit of the Israeli home front, but is giving a blow to Lebanon." Thus, the Vice Prime Minister continued, "Lebanon, and the Lebanese government, must get rid of the Hizbullah from their midst as quickly as possible. Only in this way can calm and peace be achieved in the region as a whole."