Monday, April 30, 2007

Gaza incursion inevitable

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Apr. 29, 2007, by Herb Keinon...

... chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi indicated at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday that there may be no choice but to put IDF boots on the ground to stop attacks from Gaza.

After telling the cabinet that the military buildup of Hamas was continuing, and that Hamas had also begun active involvement in attacks against Israel, Ashkenazi said that if this situation continued "there would be no choice but to stop it, as the prime minister has said."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert...said at the opening of the meeting that while Israel was not interested in an escalation with the Palestinians, "we will not in any way be prevented from taking the necessary steps to stop those who are trying to harm Israeli citizens in the South."
During the meeting, Olmert said that one question that needed to be asked regarding a possible incursion into Gaza was what would happen the minute the IDF pulled out. He said that Israel needed to work intensively with the international community and Egypt in an effort to stop Hamas's military buildup before taking military action.

... Ashkenazi said a permanent presence in Gaza - with IDF outposts and pillboxes - was not the answer, since these would then only become targets. He reminded the ministers that there were frequent attacks on Israel from Gaza even when the IDF was well ensconced inside the Gaza Strip.

Ashkenazi said that it was difficult to call the situation that had existed in Gaza over the last five months a truce, as Hamas called it, since there have been some 250 firings of rockets and mortars on Israel, and in addition there have been numerous attempts to infiltrate into Israel, fire on soldiers and set roadside bombs.

He said that on Independence Day last week the Palestinians fired 35 mortars and seven Kassam rockets. Up until about five weeks ago Islamic Jihad was behind most of the attacks, but since then Hamas had taken an active and public role as well, he said. Two Kassam rockets were fired from Gaza Sunday night and fell inside Israel, but caused no damage....

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