Barak to students: We love peace, but will use force to defend ourselves

In a visit marking the start of the Israeli school year, Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke at the new Kiryat Hinuch School in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, and while expressing his hopes for calm in the region, he warned that the IDF would operate against Gaza terror groups should the need arise. "Quiet is good. It's good to be at peace, and if the quiet continues for more years, when you enlist in the army the situation will be quiet, and when you finish your army service there will be quiet," he reassured students. "We don't like that the other side is rearming. We love quiet. But we need to remember that we are also arming ourselves, that we are not dismantling the IDF. You can see your big brothers and sisters that are serving in the army. If there is a need, [the army] will operate, but I hope that it won't be necessary." "When, on the other hand, we are ultimately forced to operate, the IDF operates very powerfully," he continued. "To this day, the adults in Gaza need to remember the results of the strike on Hamas, and the disruption of life [there]." The defense minister went on to say that the efforts to curb arms smuggling were continuing. "The Egyptians are [also] working hard on this," he said. "Here we do not see this, but in the area south of Kissufim, we sometimes see the bombings of the tunnels that are located on the border between Egypt and the [Gaza] Strip, and we hope that these operations will slow down and decrease the buildup of Hamas and other [terrorist] organizations. In the end, we prefer quiet, we like to achieve quiet, but if they coerce and force us to defend ourselves, we will do so with full force and all means to reduce their desire to mess with us again."