Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this morning (Tuesday), 29.11.05, toured along

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, Israel Police Southern District Commander Uri Bar-Lev and Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ilan Cohen were among those who accompanied the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Sharon visited the Mt. Horsha area and was briefed by GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Galant and divisional commander Brig.-Gen. Imad Faris. The Prime Minister then traveled along the border until the Barnea overlook where he was briefed by the divisional intelligence officer on – inter alia – smugglers’ efforts to infiltrate weapons, explosives, drugs and people into Israel. Prime Minister Sharon toured a local IDF base where he viewed various items that had been seized. The tour ended with a lengthy discussion of the issues of regional smuggling and terrorist activity, as well as the situation in the Gaza Strip following the withdrawal of IDF forces. After the discussion, the Prime Minister made the following remarks: “This was an interesting tour. I was GOC Southern Command for four years and I admit that I miss it. The mission for the forces in the field is to stop the border crossing. I emphasize – not to reduce it or make it more difficult but to halt it. There is no difference between criminal and security infiltrations. Those who cross the border for criminal purposes will do so in the future for terrorist purposes; there can be no differentiation between criminal and terrorist activity. Dealing with Israeli and foreign infiltrators is not enough; Israel must achieve deterrence and we will find solutions for this forthwith. All of the relevant bodies must work in concert because this is an urgent and immediate mission. IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky has already presented with the IDF plan on the issue, which will be submitted to the Cabinet soon.”