SPIEGEL: Madam Minister, after Hezbollah attacked a patrol and kidnapped two soldiers, your government launched a military offensive that you defend as your right to self defense. But what does the bombing of Beirut have to do with a right to self defense?
Livni: The legitimacy of our answer relies on the size of the threat and not a specific attack. Hezbollah as a real threat to us is a fact that is acknowledged by the entire world. Sheik Nasrallah wants to assume the position of a provocateur to prevent peace in the area of Israel and Lebanon. Israel will fight the Hezbollah wherever they are. Their command center is in southern Beirut. This is why we bombed this area….
SPIEGEL: Don’t Syria and Iran carry considerably greater responsibility for the violent acts committed by the Hezbollah?
Livni: Hezbollah is the long arm of Iran. They share the same horrible ideology. It’s an ideology of hate that is fed by the wish to destroy Israel. Syria supports Hezbollah by, on the one hand, providing weapons and, on the other, acting as a conduit for weapons deliveries from other countries.