'We must be strong in face of terror'

Bush says best way to defeat enemies is to advance cause of freedom; PM: Ashkelon attack "intolerable."

Olmert bush peres 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Olmert bush peres 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
US President George W. Bush expressed support for Israel in its continual fight against terror, following a Grad missile attack on Ashkelon's Hutzot Shopping Center, in which 14 people were wounded. "We believe that the surest way to defeat the enemies...is to advance the cause of hope, the cause of freedom, liberty as the great alternative to tyranny and terror," said Bush at the "Facing Tomorrow" conference in Jerusalem - a gala event marking 60 years of US-Israeli friendship. "As we stand in peace we must understand the realities of the world in which we live," he added. "We must be steadfast and we must be strong in the face of those who murder the innocent to achieve their objectives," continued the US president. Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that "Israel is and must remain capable of securing its own future, relying only on ourselves for our protection. But everybody in Israel knows that we can always depend on our greatest ally in the world, the United States of America, when navigating the geo-political challenges of the future." Regarding the Grad missile attack earlier Wednesday, the prime minister said that it was "entirely intolerable and unacceptable," that the government is committed to preventing such attacks in the future, and will "take the necessary steps so that this will stop." Even before the attack, during a press statement after meeting with US President George Bush, Olmert had said Israel would not be able to "tolerate continuous attacks on innocent civilians." "We hope that we will not have to act against Hamas in other ways with the military power that Israel hasn't yet started to use in a serious manner in order to stop it," Olmert warned. The initiator of the conference, President Shimon Peres said Islamist extremists are trying to destroy Lebanon and Gaza, "but it won't work in Israel. They won't succeed in destroying Israel." Also Wednesday, the Israeli delegation to the United Nations filed a complaint to the UN secretary general and the UN Security Council regarding the continuous rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip, and fatal terror attacks on the Israeli civilian population. It is the third such complaint that Israel has lodged in the past week.