(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazy, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Gallant and other senior IDF commanders, today (Tuesday), 11 November 2008, visited the IDF Gaza Division.

Most of the visit was devoted to briefings and a discussion on developments in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Olmert was presented with an updated picture of the situation regarding the calm, IDF activity, the disposition of terrorist organizations in the Strip, especially Hamas, and the security situation along the Egyptian border.

The Prime Minister said: "I have no doubt that the situation between us and Hamas is that before an unavoidable clash. It is merely a question of time and not one of ‘if’. We are not enthused about this but neither do we fear it and if it is necessary to fight Hamas – we will do so. In any case, we need to be prepared and ready."

Prime Minister Olmert also met with Paratroop Brigade soldiers on duty along the border with the Gaza Strip.