Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday said he was not sorry for Israel's restraint in previous months and stressed that Operation Cast Lead was not an act of revenge, but a level-headed operation that had been planned by the security establishment over a long period of time.
"I'm not sorry for the restraint we showed until the beginning of Operation Cast Leadâ€¦now is the time to act," Barak said at a special Knesset session.
Barak stressed that Israel was not interested in violence but would not allow a situation in which its citizens are under fire.
"I'm the defense minister, not the war minister," he said. "As a fighter and commander I know personally what it feels like to lose a fellow combatant. I'm not trigger happy, maybe even the opposite... I want to make it clear that we did not set out on this military operation because of revenge. The security establishment has been preparing for such an operation for many months."