Ashkenazi says IAF pilots must be prepared for action; Barak expresses support for 2-state solution.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Speaking at a graduation ceremony for new IAF pilots in Hatzerim on Thursday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi stated that the victory of hardliner president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Iranian presidential elections requires the IDF to remain primed and prepared.
"The reelection of the Iranian president, his remarks on his intention to harm Israel, and his efforts to obtain unconventional weapons, require us to be prepared to deal with every threat, far away and nearby," Ashkenazi said. "As the chief of general staff I know - only a strong and high quality IDF will keep war at bay and if necessary, will subdue the enemy and win."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who also spoke at the ceremony, stressed that the IAF was prepared for every mission.
"Our hope is that this will not be required," Barak said, "but in the Middle East, the threats posed to our security are not theoretical."
"The scope of threats against us has widened from Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists to Iran, which is working to attain nuclear capabilities. We will not remove any option from the table and advise others to do the same," the defense minister said, hinting that Israel was prepared to carry out a military strike against Iran if diplomatic efforts to halt the Islamic Republic's nuclear program fail.
Regarding the peace process with the Palestinians, Barak expressed support for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel while stating that "peace in the Middle East is made with those who are strong."
"We will not make concessions on our security under any circumstances, but we mustn't miss an opportunity to promote a regional peace accord in the spirit of the Road Map, on the basis of two states for two people," the defense minister said.
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