Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres met today with European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana. At the beginning of the meeting Peres stated, "The alternative to the IDF activity is a regime of the forces of darkness in the world. The State of Israel is being attacked and thus must defend herself."

The Vice Prime Minister also related to the question of the involvement of international forces in Lebanon and stated, "No international force can prevent the existing situation in which the entire area adjacent to the Israeli-Lebanese border, on the Lebanese side, is lined with large
explosives and unmarked mines. An international force cannot stop missiles flying in the air. Thus, the Lebanese government needs to eject from its midst the terrorist group Hizbullah. Hizbullah is destroying Lebanon and preventing its independence. If the existing 50,000 Lebanese soldiers will not stand up against this, and thus enable 7,000 Hizbullah terrorists to rule Lebanon, we will not tolerate such a situation."

Peres continued, "Israel is fighting two fronts, which is difficult and painful, but for us, it is a matter of life or death. We are in the midst of a war not of our choosing, as well as a war of no choice. All of Israel is today united behind the government steps."

Peres also stated, "Israel is a country that stands firm against terrorism, and we have not requested from any country to send soldiers to defend us. Israel is right, strong and steadfast in its steps."