Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says his country's pullout from the Gaza Strip more than two years ago gives his military more flexibility to confront Palestinian gunmen there.
Interviews with Olmert appeared on TV stations on Thursday ahead of the Passover holiday, which begins this weekend.
Olmert said the evacuation of 21 Gaza settlements has helped Israel. He told a TV interviewer on Channel 2, "I hate to think what would happen today if there were 12,000 civilians there and thousands of soldiers to protect them."
Olmert also said he was confident that the world would keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He was asked if Israel would attack Iran. He replied, "What do you think, that I will answer that question?"