(Communicated by Minister of Defense Bureau Media Advisor)

At a conference on philanthropy and civil society being held today and tomorrow at the Shitufim Center in Beit Yehoshua , Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the audience:

"Today seven terrorists were killed and yesterday three terrorists were killed in an IDF counterterrorist operation. Tonight the possibility of arriving at a state of calm (in the Gaza Strip arena) is being explored.

It is premature to announce such a state of calm, and even when it begins, if it begins, it is hard to estimate how long it will last. Ultimately, success will be judged by the results, but it is important to give it a chance.

The Israel Defense Forces are prepared for any eventuality, but it is important to make the most of this chance for a state of calm, in order to restore quiet to the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, including the cities of Sderot and Ashkelon, and to take advantage of the opportunity inherent in the renewal of the negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit."