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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blair: Hamas should be brought into the peace process

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/blair-hamas-should-be-brought-into.html

Either Mr. Blair is very smart, or very stupid. Hitler should have been bought into the peace process too, but he was also unwilling....
 
Last update - 00:24 01/01/2009       
Blair: Hamas should be part of peace process
By Haaretz Service and Reuters
Hamas should be part of the Middle East peace process, said Tony Blair, former British prime minister and envoy to the region of the international quartet of powers, in comments published on Friday.
 
"I do think it is important that we find a way of bringing Hamas into this process, but it can only be done if Hamas are prepared to do it on the right terms," Blair said in an interview with the Times of London newspaper, published on its Web site.
 
Blair is the Middle East envoy for the quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union.
 
Blair told the newspaper that that the strategy of "pushing Gaza aside" and trying to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank "was never going to work and will never work."

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hamas: Big surprises waiting for the occupation .. The resistance has used only 40% of capacity

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/hamas-big-surprises-waiting-for.html

Hamas Big surprises waiting for the occupation .. The resistance has used only 40% of capacity
2009-01-10 2009-01-10
Qassam agencies:
Source: alqassam.ps/arabic/news1.php?id=7456 (translated)

Palestinian sources familiar with the capabilities of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza stated: "The land battle has not started yet and the Palestinian resistance has used only 40% of its capacity in the battle on the edge of the Gaza Strip."

The sources said that "the Zionist tanks are still stationed in the open and agricultural areas and did not enter the Palestinian cities in the Gaza Strip", indicating that the tanks were in open areas in Rafah or Khan Younis camps, or central and northern Gaza.

The sources noted that the units of snipers and suicide bombers and booby-trapped houses and cars and thousands of fighters from the field units equipped with improvised explosive devices and rocket-launching persons and teams are not yet participating in the battle on the edge of the sector.

The sources pointed out that the artillery units assigned to the firing of mortar shells and rockets will operate out of thousands of cells of the resistance and deploy in the field and take their places in the streets and alleys, waiting for the battle between the alleys of refugee camps and neighborhoods.

The sources confirmed the fact that the war is expected to peak with the resistance meeting face to face with Israeli soldiers, noting that it was possible to increase the number of martyrs to more than ten thousand dead and thousands injured in the risk of heavy losses on the enemy. "
They revealed the existence of Palestinian resistance cells of about 40 people each, equipped with automatic weapons of various types, each equipped with ammunition and bombs.

The sources expected that all the combatants will join the people of the Gaza Strip in the battle against the Palestinian people, indicating that "a small number of fighters were involved in the battle on the edge of the sector now."

It stressed that "in the battle between the alleys of the camp, a proficient Palestinian fighter knows the streets and alleys of the camp and exits and entrances of homes in the Gaza Strip," they said, adding that the army of occupation in the Gaza Strip did not expect more than nominal resistance, and that Hamas benefited from the experience of battle in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002 and well as the experience of the July War on Lebanon in 2006.

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"Hamas:" Land battle with the enemy did not start .. The resistance is fully prepared

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/hamas-and-battle-with-enemy-did-not.html

alqassam.ps/arabic/news1.php?id=7448
"Hamas:" Land battle with the enemy did not start .. The resistance is fully prepared
2009-01-10 2009-01-10
Qassam agencies:

According to the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas", the majority of the targets that had been shelled by Israel in the last days of the aggression are civilian targets, and did not deprive the resistance of its components. That was however, the easy part, and they were prepared for the ground battle ground that has  not yet begun.
The leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas", Mushir al-Masri, told reporters that the resistance has only lost a few fightes, and the targeting of civilians by the entity is only evidence of military and political failure. He said: "We stress that the resistance has only lost a few now in its battle with the Zionist occupation, We emphasize that more than 1000 casuality goal of the Zionist enemy is achieved by hitting civilian targets from universities, schools, hospitals, mosques and homes, and targeting of civilians is proof of the failure and bankruptcy by the enemy who did not face resistance on the ground so far. "

Al-Masri pointed out that the land battle "has not yet begun, and that the Zionist forces are still in the frontier areas and in the open", and said: "The land battle has not started yet, the enemy is still on the edge of the regions, and preparations for resistance is great, and the dozens of people killed among the Zionists is evidence of the strength of the resistance; we are at the back of this enemy, we will not enable the invasion of Gaza and the resistance will cause them losses, and launch dozens of rockets on a daily basis towards the Zionist settlements, "as he put it.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Amos Oz: ISRAEL MUST DEFEND ITS CITIZENS

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/amos-oz-israel-must-defend-its-citizens.html

(Evidently a translation of remarks made to "Bild" -- no original Web provenance can be found. This comment by Dovish Israeli author Amos Oz appears to have been penned just before Operation "Cast Lead")

ISRAEL MUST DEFEND ITS CITIZENS

Amos Oz


"The systematic bombing of the citizens in Israel's towns and cities is a war crime and a crime against humanity. The State of Israel must defend its citizens. It is obvious to everyone that the Israeli government does not wish to enter Gaza; the government would rather continue the ceasefire that Hamas violated and finally revoked. But the suffering of the citizens surrounding Gaza cannot go on.

The reluctance to enter Gaza stems not from indecisiveness but from well knowing that Hamas is actually eager to cause Israel to embark on a military operation: If dozens or even hundreds of Palestinian civilians, women and children are killed in an Israeli action, radicalism would gain strength in Gaza, Abu Mazen's rule in the West Bank might collapse, and Hamas extremists could replace him.

The Arab world will rally together around the atrocious sights that Al-Jazeera will air from Gaza, and the world court of public opinion will rush to accuse Israel of war crimes. This is the same court of public opinion that remains unmoved by the systematic bombing of population centers in Israel.

Massive pressure will be exerted on Israel to restrain itself. No such pressure will be placed on Hamas because there is no one to pressure them, and there is almost nothing left with which to pressure them. Israel is a country; Hamas is a gang.

What remains for us to do? The best thing for Israel is to achieve a total ceasefire in exchange for alleviating the blockade of Gaza. If Hamas insists on refusing the ceasefire and continues bombing Israeli citizens, we must take care lest the military action play into Hamas' hands. Hamas' calculation is simple, cynical and evil: If innocent Israelis are killed – good. If innocent Palestinians are killed – even better."

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Israeli FM Livni: Gaza Operation - December 29

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/12/israeli-fm-livni-on-gaza-operation.html

Address by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni
at the Knesset on the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip

29 December 2008 Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Address by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni at the Knesset on the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip

Since this past Saturday morning, Israel has been fighting the terrorist rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip in order to change the security situation in Israel - the situation in which the citizens of the western Negev and the entire State of Israel have been exposed to incessant bombing out of Gaza. These are days of ordeal, responsibility and considered judgment, and not days for criticism, factionalism and politics.

Esteemed Members of Knesset, these days the world is divided between moderates and extremists, between those who believe in live-and-let-live and those who try to impose their beliefs upon others, between people who wish to live in peace and people for whom hate, incitement, terror and violence are their daily routine, the basis for educating their children, and the voices emanating from some of their mosques.

These are the days when every individual in the region and in the world has to choose a side. And the sides have changed. No longer is it Israel on one side and the Arab world on the other. No longer is it a choice between the political process and hope, or a war on terror. Israel chose its side the day it was established; the Jewish people chose its side during its thousands of years of existence, and the prayer for peace is the voice sounded in the synagogues.

There is one thing I am unwilling to accept. Choosing peace does not mean surrendering to the radical and terrorist elements. And while fighting terror, it is forbidden to abandon the political process and hope. Choosing peace and life is part of the war on terror and extremism. And Israel's side, the right side, is the side of all those who want to advance the peace process based on the idea of two states and everyone who understands that we need to fight against our common enemies.

Let no one make the mistake of thinking that our values, our aspirations for peace, and our commitment to democracy will prevent us from doing what we must do in order to protect each and every Israeli citizen. Israel is making it plain yet again today that its desire for peace is not a sign of weakness. Israel is proving that it has the ability, the will and the social and political cohesiveness to defend itself against those seeking to inflict harm upon it.

Many voices are making themselves heard throughout the world today in English, French and Arabic, and, in a clear, strong voice, we are telling them all the truth that is not broadcast on television in the Arab world - and this is the truth that needs to be voiced from this podium to the entire world.

The true conflict is between the extremist elements and the moderates in the region. Hamas is an extremist Islamic organization that does not represent any of the Palestinian people's aspirations, but rather is ruling them for its own ends and purposes. Hamas does not recognize the existence of Israel or Israel's right to exist here. It lives off fear and hate. Hamas receives support from Iran and Syria, in the form of money, weapons, and training. Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Israel is on the right side. We made a strategic decision to advance the peace process with those who have chosen the same side as us and wish to promote the idea of two states. We immediately made it clear that we can only succeed if at the same time we all take a stand against the terror and hate that Hamas represents.

When we made the decision to leave Gaza in order to disengage ourselves from responsibility for what was happening there and to create an opportunity for peace, we clarified at the time that Israel is not leaving the key to its life and security in the hands of whoever will be in charge there.

Hamas, which is ruling Gaza, refuses to accept the three conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing terror, and accepting previous agreements. We will not accept the use of any similar language when it comes to Hamas and Israel. We are responsible for our security. Israel's approach to security does cannot be put off to later. We retained the capability to respond, and that is exactly what we are doing today.

Israel has been under attack from Gaza for the past eight years. We did everything we could to prevent a deterioration of the situation. We agreed to the calm that was immediately violated by Hamas when it refused to advance the release of Gilad Shalit, continued to arm itself, and continued firing. The calm was violated by Hamas. Hamas is the party responsible for violating the calm; and whoever has given Hamas support, assistance and refuge is today paying the price.

Israel is entitled to defend itself against any attempt to harm its sovereignty, the well-being of its residents and the security of its citizens. Israel's actions fulfill its basic right to self defense. Hamas is a terrorist organization – and we are treating it as such.

Israel is acting against Hamas and not against the Palestinian population. Israel would like to reiterate to anyone with complaints about the population, to redirect them to the party directly responsible for the population's situation – Hamas, which is holding the population hostage.

Israel has done everything possible to avoid the moment at which it would be forced to take action, but that moment finally came. We will make the most of it, in order to change the equation.

Israel is waging a struggle, but this struggle is not Israel's alone. Israel is standing on the frontlines of the Western world's war against terror, and we expect support for doing the right thing and fighting the war of the entire free world.

It is true: the pictures broadcast on television all over the world are provoking harsh public opinion against Israel. Unfortunately, some of the world's decision makers are swayed by public opinion and the media, even though they know what is true and what is not, and how they would act in a similar situation.

From this podium, I call upon the world's leaders, and particularly those from the Arab world – those who understand that the threat does not come from Israel but from the radical elements in the world, headed by Iran; those who know what Hamas really is; those who know that Hamas is a problem for the entire Palestinian people and not just Israel's problem. They know that as long as Hamas rules in Gaza, Gaza cannot be part of a Palestinian state. They know that the road to peace passes through the war on terror, extremism, hate and incitement, which means a war against Hamas and those like Hamas.

It is the leader's responsibility to make choices. Leadership has the power and the responsibility to do what is right, even if runs counter to public opinion, and this is the test of what is right.

This is also a test of the leadership of the Arab public in Israel. You are leading the Arab population here on a thin rope. The thin line between what is allowed and what is forbidden must not be crossed - between legitimate and illegitimate, between right and wrong. Each of you must choose a side, and the choice is between Arab and Jew. The right side is the State of Israel along with all the moderate elements in the region, including the lion's share of the Palestinian public and the Arab world. Then there is the side of terror and extremism. There is no middle ground.

Yesterday I was in Sderot with the foreign ambassadors, and the mayor told them a story that I would like to share with you as well. Schoolchildren who wanted to prove their rabbi wrong held a butterfly in their hands and asked him if it was alive or dead. If he said alive, they would crush it; if he said dead, they would open their hands and set it free. Upon being asked, the rabbi responded, "It is in your hands. If you wish, it will live. If you wish, it will die."

Israel knows how to rally together when it is fighting for its own. A country must protect all its citizens. On the way here, I heard that Hamas has announced that the man killed by the rocket strike in Ashkelon was a Zionist, although he was actually an Israeli Arab. They don't make that distinction.

We have conducted ourselves with unsurpassed restraint. We grinded our teeth, bit our lips, unturned every stone, to prevent the need for widespread action. However, our responsibility is to the safety of our children, their right to walk to school and kindergarten. Living quietly is the right of every person on this earth. This parliament, like this entire nation, needs to be united and to send out our thanks to the IDF, to the members of Israel Security Agency, and to all those fighting and protecting the home front. The home front that has become the front line in recent years, and to which we must restore peace of mind.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Israelis support "calm" but think it won't last.

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/06/israelis-support-calm-but-think-it-wont.html

The latest poll shows that a plurality of Israelis support the "calm" with Hamas but think it won't last. Interestingly, Kadima voters support the "calm", but are pretty certain it won't last. Knesset polls show a significant relative advantage for the Kadima party if Tzippi Livni is its candidate for Prime Minister, and a drop in the popularity of Labor and the Likud relative to other scenarios and previous polls. Still, the Likud is the party that gets the largest number of mandates in all scenarios.

Polls: 40.6%:32.9% support calm agreement with Hamas, 74.8% expect to last
days
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 19 June 2008

Telephone poll of a representative sample of 497 adult Israelis (including Arab Israelis) carried out by Shvakim Panorama for Israel Radio's Hakol Diburim (It's All Talk) the afternoon and evening of 18 June 2008 after the announcement of the "calm" in the Gaza Strip.

If elections were held today how would you vote (expressed in mandates - based on the 81.2% who indicated what party they would vote for)

Four scenarios:
[A] Kadima headed by Livni
[B] Kadima headed by Mofaz
[C] Kadima headed by Dichter
[D] Kadima headed by Shetreet

Actual Knesset today in [brackets]
[A][B][C][D]
22 18 09 08 [29] Kadima
14 17 19 19 [19] Labor
25 22 29 30 [12] Likud
11 11 11 11 [12] Shas
11 12 11 12 [11] Yisrael Beteinu
07 08 08 07 [09] Nat'l Union/NRP
06 06 06 06 [06] Yahadut Hatorah
06 07 07 07 [05] Meretz
04 05 06 06 [00] Green Party
03 03 03 03 [00] Social Justice (Gaydamak Party)
** ** ** ** [07] Retirees Party
11 11 11 11 [10] Arab parties
** does not get minimum votes for Knesset representation

Do you support or oppose the calm agreement with Hamas?
Total: Support 40.6% Oppose 32.9% No position 26.5%
Kadima voters: Support 38.1% Oppose 31.8% No position 30.1%
Likud voters: Support 22.3% Oppose 60.4% No position 17.3%
Labor voters: Support 69.2% Oppose 10.1% No position 20.7%

You think that the calm will continue for a short time (days) or a long time (months)?
Total: Short 74.8% Long 17.1% Don't know 8.1%
Kadima voters: Short 81.5% Long 5.3% DK 13.2%
Likud voters:: Short 91.4% Long 2.2% DK 6.4%
Labor voters: Short 59.6% Long 12.8% DK 27.6%

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Three Israeli soldiers killed in clashes near Gaza border

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/04/three-israeli-soldiers-killed-in.html

Last update - 15:34 16/04/2008    
 
 
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent 
 
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers from the elite Givati Brigade were killed on Wednesday in an exchange of heavy gunfire with Palestinian militants next to the Gaza Strip security fence.
 
A preliminary IDF investigation suggests that an operational mishap occurred during the soldiers' raid, a senior officer in the Southern Command told Haaretz.
 
The officer said that the army was investigating why reinforcements were not sent to back up the Givati troops and whether the soldiers were sent on the correct path.
 
  
The IDF said that the clashes occurred near Kibbutz Be'eri, in the western Negev, as troops entered the Strip to arrest a band of suspicious looking figures.
 
The soldiers were killed after troops spotted two Hamas militants planting a bomb near the Israeli border. Troops pursued the militants, only to fall into an ambush by another Hamas force lying in wait, Israeli defense officials said.
 
Three other soldiers were wounded in the clashes, two of them moderately, and were taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva for treatment.
 
The army named one of the slain soldiers as Corporal Matan Ovadati, 19, of Moshav Patish. The names of the other fatalities have not yet been released.
 
An IDF spokeswoman said soldiers had shot several Palestinian gunmen during the fighting, though there were no reports of injuries among the militants.
 
The six Israeli casualties were struck in the first few minutes of the clashes. Two were killed instantly, another was critically wounded, and the other four sustained various levels of injuries.
 
Palestinian medical workers and Hamas reported that IDF troops killed four Hamas gunmen in a separate battle in Gaza near a terminal used to supply fuel to the coastal territory.
 
Hamas said soldiers, backed by helicopters, killed the four militants during fighting east of Gaza City, a few hundred metres from the Nahal Oz border terminal. The terminal was the site of a terrorist attack last week, in which two Israeli civilian workers were shot dead by Gaza gunmen.
 
An IDF spokeswoman said soldiers clashed with Palestinian gunmen in the area and identified hitting them. An Israel Air Force air craft also fired at a group of gunmen, the army said.
 
At least five Palestinians were injured in the clashes at several points in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and medics said.
 
Two Palestinian civilians were wounded when their house was hit by a tank
shell, medics said. The army did not immediately comment on that incidents.
 
In one of the areas east of Gaza City, IDF armored vehicles hit and damaged a mosque, local residents said. Orange and olive trees were also
uprooted, the witnesses said. The IDF did not immediately comment on the damage to the mosque and trees.
 
Throughout the fighting, militants fired 10 Qassam rockets and a number of mortar shells at the western Negev on Wednesday morning. There was no word of casualties in any of the incidents.
 
Hamas claimed responsibility for both the Qassam fire as well as the slaying of the IDF soldiers.
 
Meanwhile, an IDF soldier was moderately wounded late Tuesday when shot by a Palestinian sniper in the central Gaza Strip.
 
Earlier Tuesday evening, the Israel Air Force attacked two Palestinian militants as they rode a motorcycle through the northern Gaza Strip, killing one and wounding the other, Hamas police officials said.
 
They identified the casualties from the missile attack in Jabalya refugee camp as members of Islamic Jihad, one of several Palestinian militant factions.
 
The dead man was named as Mohammed Ghausain, Islamic Jihad's commander in northern Gaza. He was hit while riding his motorcycle in the Jabalya refugee camp, Palestinians said.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Winograd report: a bigger failure than the Second Lebanon War

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/01/wingrad-report-is-bigger-failure-than.html

This is my take on the Winograd report at ZioNation Web log.
 
Ami Isseroff

The long awaited Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War (see text of press conference on Winograd findings) has finally arrived. The suspense, if there was any, has ended, not with a bang, but a whimper. The public part of the report noted strategic failures at the military and political levels, but the report is so vaguely worded that everyone can make any claim they wish.

We should put the failure of the
Second Lebanon war in context and understand its significance. Failures of individual operations are nothing new and plague every army. IDF has never been immune from such failures, from the Israel War of Independence and throughout each campaign, successful or otherwise.The political decisions made after every war have always likewise not been uniformly optimal, and the decision to go to war has sometimes been questionable. However, never before has Israel seen such a combination of failures at every level, inflated expectations, incompetent military strategy, failure to protect civilians, low morale, failure of national purpose, decisions that disregarded the value of the lives of soldiers and diplomatic and public relations bungling. The Israel government tried to match the most powerful army in the Middle East against an enemy whose main weapon is his mouth, and the mouth won.

The report itself is a continuation of the failures of the Lebanon war and the political reaction to the report is a further continuation of those failures. The report was obviously tailored to serve political interests and protect those in power, at least in the public version. The politicians are each interpreting the report in terms of their own interests. Hassan Nasrallah of the Hezbollah joined forces with Likud and other Israeli opposition leaders in claiming that the report indicates Olmert is a failure and has lost all credibility. Kadima party members insist that the report exonerates Ehud Olmert.
 

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Mr. Bush: You are not in Kansas anymore

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/01/mr-bush-you-are-not-in-kansas-anymore.html

07.01. 2008
http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000476.html
Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center
http://zionism-israel.com

Not much peace is likely to come out of President Bush's upcoming visit to the Middle East. As Hillel Halkin notes, nobody in the Middle East probably really wants peace anyhow.

Unlike Hillel Halkin, I do not think this is a Good Thing. But it certainly seems to be a fact. As I note elsewhere, if US diplomats ever grasp this truth, it may set US policy in the Middle East on a much firmer footing. Since sometime after the Six Day War, the U.S. has held to the same policy in the Middle East. It is based on these principles:
  • Arab-Israeli peace will stabilize the region and open the way to further progress.

  • The various actors in the Middle East really want peace, though they each want it on their terms.

  • Peace can be obtained by using US leverage on Israel to extract territorial concessions from Israel. LI>

    By achieving peace and return of territories, the US can leverage Israeli return of territories into US influence with Arab states.

  • The US can maintain its leverage over Israel by making Israel dependent on US aid and weapons, and likewise, it can use the same mechanism to maintain leverage over other states in the region.

The model that is supposed to have validated the thesis is Egypt. Egypt made peace with Israel and got its territories back, and Egypt and Israel remain firm allies of the US, in part because of hefty foreign aid subsidies. But what if all the above assumptions are false? What if peace between the Arabs and Israelis would violate cultural taboos that have been in place in the Arab world for the last 100 years? What if it would destabilize all the regimes that signed peace treaties with Israel, by labeling them as "Jew lovers" and an easy target for extremists? What if the Israelis, once anxious for peace even in 1967 borders have in the interim gotten used to the "new" situation that has prevailed for 40 years, and are not anxious to trade real estate for flimsy peace agreements like the one with Egypt? What if instability in the Middle East, backward conditions and volatility are the cause of the Israel-Arab conflict rather than the effect?

Continued: Mr. Bush: You are not in Kansas anymore


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rabin took responsibility for a failed mission

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/10/rabin-took-responsibility-for-failed.html


(Cross-posted from Israel: Like this, as if)

Israel's media are busy reminiscing about Yitzhak Rabin.

Today (Oct. 24) on our Hebrew lunar calendar is 12 Heshvan, the 12th anniversary of the assassinated Prime Minister's death. (On the Gregorian calendar, the assassination took place Nov. 4.)

One Rabin memory which stays with me is hearing the rumble of his deep voice in a television broadcast that echoed from open windows along the silent streets of Tel Aviv on Sabbath Eve, October 14, 1994.

Rabin had gone on the air to announce the failure of a rescue mission. A Sayeret Matcal commando force acting on precise intelligence had raided a house north of Jerusalem in an effort to free Nahshon Wachsman, a young Israeli soldier who was being held hostage by Hamas. The hostage died in the rescue attempt, which also took the life of the Israeli mission commander, Capt. Nir Poraz, 23.

Today in a radio interview one of his aides recalled that Rabin insisted that night on publicly taking responsibility for the failure of the mission. Ehud Barak, who was then the military chief of staff, was ready to go on the air with the announcement, the aide said, but Rabin emphasized, "I was responsible."

Rabin later said that approving this rescue operation was one of the most difficult decisions of his life.

Taking responsibility is a quality for which people remember Rabin. How many other heads of government can you recall going on national television to take responsibility for a mission that failed?

-- Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv, October 24, 2007

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good news: IDF soldiers learning to shoot

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/02/good-news-idf-soldiers-learning-to.html

The article states:

"All the training has paid off," the officer said after a lieutenant told Peretz that as a result, the soldiers "had bridged gaps" and now knew how to "better use their submachine guns and sniper rifles."


Good. Now if the defense minister will also take the lens caps off the binoculars, maybe we can have some real progress.

These are supposed to be the best soldiers in the world. What happened?




Israel to UN: Stop Hizbullah arms flow
By YAAKOV KATZ and SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL, THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 28, 2007

Israel is considering taking action to stop the smuggling of weapons from Syria to Hizbullah, although plans for the time being entail a continuation of diplomatic efforts to change UNIFIL's mandate so that the UN force will deploy along the Syrian-Lebanese border, Israeli sources said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot met with UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano of Italy at Northern Command headquarters in Safed. Sources said the two discussed the Syrian arms smuggling and ways to better enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which forbids the transfer of weapons to Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.Defense Minister Amir Peretz hinted on Tuesday at a possible Israeli use of force along the Syrian-Lebanese border. During a tour of the Gaza border with Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Peretz said that for now, Israel would continue to demand that the international community stop the weapons traffic.

"We demand from all the international parties involved to put an end to the smuggling," he told reporters during a briefing at the IDF's Yiftah base just north of Gaza, home to the Givati Brigade's Shaked Battalion. "In theend, however, we will take responsibility and will do everything to defend the State of Israel. We will not allow the situation in southern Lebanon to return to the way it was on the eve of the war."

The IDF and the Foreign Ministry have been conducting a worldwide public relations campaign, showing intelligence collected inside Lebanon to representatives of countries that could assist in changing UNIFIL's mandate. On Monday, senior IDF officers presented intelligence to visiting UN envoy Michael Williams, and officers have also recently presented the information to the United States and Russia, and to European countries that are members of UNIFIL.

Also on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that while Security Council Resolution 1701 was only being "partially implemented," it was the best option at the time.

Livni told the panel Israel was working with "international partners" to find ways to tighten the border between Lebanon and Syria. "Hizbullah is getting stronger beyond the Litani [River]. At this point, we could not act there freely if we needed to," she said.

During Tuesday's briefing, Peretz also hinted at a possible military operation in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is continuing to build up its strength. He said Israel was interested in "giving the cease-fire a chance" and planned to continue diplomatic efforts to stop the Kassam rocket attacks.

"Due to the continued military buildup [in Gaza], however, we are obligated to prepare ourselves," he said. "When we will need to conduct the necessary operations to curb the growing threat, we will do so without any fear or hesitation."

At the Yiftah base, Peretz and Ashkenazi heard soldiers' views on a potential operation inside the Gaza Strip. A company commander told the minister that due to a major increase in training - a key result of the lessons of the Lebanon war - the soldiers were now better prepared for the next war.

"All the training has paid off," the officer said after a lieutenant told Peretz that as a result, the soldiers "had bridged gaps" and now knew how to "better use their submachine guns and sniper rifles."

Officers who were present at the meeting spoke of a "positive dynamic" between Ashkenazi and Peretz and of a feeling of a "new spirit" within the IDF.

The meeting hit an emotional point after an officer from the battalion of abducted Cpl. Gilad Schalit asked Ashkenazi to allow his unit to remain in the Southern Command and to participate in the fighting in Gaza until Schalit is freed.

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Point of view: IDF border police kill three Islamic Jihad "militants"

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/02/point-of-view-idf-border-police-kill.html

Undercover Border Police kill three Jihad terrorists in JeninBy YAAKOV KATZ, JPOST.COM STAFF AND AP
NABLUS, West Bank

Other possible headlines (depending on point of view):

"IOF martyrs three Palestinian freedom fighters"

"Three Palestinian citizens killed by occupation army"

"Apartheid Israel regime oppresses Palestinian freedom fighters"




http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1171894536931&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Undercover Border Police operating in Jenin killed three armed Islamic Jihad terrorists Wednesday morning, including the group's local leader, Ashraf Sa'adi.

The other two were known Islamic Jihad operatives Muhammad Abu Nasa and Daoud Jabli.

One soldier was lightly wounded in the operation, in which the troops exchanged gun fire with Sa'adi and his men.

According to Palestinian witnesses at the scene, the three were sitting in a car when a black car drove up alongside and fired shots. The men in the black car were not wearing any uniforms, they said. Two of the men were killed on the spot and the third, Sa'adi, exited the car and tried to run but was shot down and killed, the witnesses added.

The army disputed the witnesses' account, saying troops had tried to arrest Sa'adi in a hospital parking lot, but he opened fire at them. Troops returned fire, killing the three terrorists, the IDF said.

Following the operation a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Abu Ahmad, warned Israel, "This new crime will not pass without tough punishment.

"Their blood will be the fuel of our holy battle. And our reaction is coming soon."

Islamic Jihad tried last week to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel but the bomber, who was from the Jenin area, was caught.

Also Wednesday morning, dozens of jeeps backed by bulldozers raided the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday and the army said its operation to track down gunmen in the flashpoint city would continue.

The troops had withdrawn on Tuesday but were back at dawn Wednesday, witnesses said.

Bulldozers sealed off all entrances to the old city with rubble and jeeps patrolled the streets of much of the city to reinstate a curfew, they said. About 50,000 people were confined to their homes.

Five suspects were arrested in house to house searches for militants, the army said.

The army has said the operation is necessary in the city known for its militant activity since most of the suicide bombers trying to enter Israel from the West Bank come from Nablus.

Thus far, one Palestinian has been killed in the operation, which began Sunday.

In related news, IDF units operating in other areas of the West Bank overnight Tuesday arrested a total of 25 Palestinians wanted for involvement in terror, the army said.

No troops were wounded in the operations.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Palestinian murderers of settler confess

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/02/palestinian-murderers-of-settler.html

Last update - 19:51 26/02/2007
A murder a day, keeps peace away. Settlements did not bring security for the victim, and terror will not bring freedom for the murderers.


Two Palestinians arrested for murder of Israeli in West Bank

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents


Israel Defense Forces troops have arrested two Palestinian youths for the murder of an Israeli whose body was found north of the West Bank city of Hebron late Sunday, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

Mudar Abu-Dia and Mousaa Ahalil, both 18, were arrested overnight in a village near the site of the murder. During their questioning, both confessed to having stabbed to death Erez Levanon, 42.

They said they had planned the murder in advance and visited the site a few times in order to follow the movement of settlers in the area.

The motive of the murder was nationalist, but the suspects said they acted out of their own interests and not on behalf of any terrorist organization. The suspects were arrested by soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces' Shimshon Battalion.

Police had said earlier Monday that the man was killed by Palestinian terrorists, but did not give an explanation, "The murder was carried out on the basis of a terrorist attack," Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "He was stabbed several times."

No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Security forces found the body of the man, a resident of a West Bank settlement, late Sunday night near Beit Omar, north of the West Bank city of Hebron.

He had been missing since late Sunday afternoon and was found near a local spring by Palestinian residents of the area.

Rosenfeld did not say how police knew that militants were behind the attack.

At about 10 P.M., Palestinians reported to police that the man's body had been seen between the settlement of Bat Ayin West in Gush Etzion and the Palestinian village of Beit Omar.

The man apparently sustained stab wounds all over his body, and his vehicle was later found overturned nearby.

A large number of police and Israel Defense Forces troops conducted searches in nearby villages in an attempt to locate the assailants.

An Israeli was last killed by Palestinian militants in the West Bank in August when gunmen shot a soldier at a military checkpoint. Israeli security forces found the body of an Israeli civilian in a Palestinian village in the West Bank earlier this month. Police said he had died in an accident.

IDF raid in Nablus
The largest Israeli raid in the West Bank for months entered its second day Monday, with tens of thousands of Palestinians confined
to their Nablus homes as soldiers searched for militants and arms.

In the operation, which involved four IDF battalions and a large contingent of Border Police, the forces raided the city's old market and uncovered an explosives laboratory, the second in 24 hours.

A full curfew was imposed on tens of thousands of residents of the market area.

The defense establishment decided on the move following an increase in the number of alerts which suggested that various Nablus terror networks were planning attacks. The Shin Bet security service is concerned about an improved ability by the Palestinians to produce explosives and an increased motivation to carry out attacks.

The most-wanted list includes six high-level activists of the Fatah's Tanzim movement as well as a few dozen militants from Tanzim and the Islamic Jihad. The IDF took over the city's radio and TV stations for a few minutes and called on the six wanted men to surrender. They also distributed leaflets to residents asking them to tell the IDF where the wanted men were by calling a special phone number.

Three of the men have been arrested so far, and a number of residents have been detained for questioning. Two soldiers were lightly wounded by shrapnel when an explosive charge was thrown at them.

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Another day, another explosives factory

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/02/last-update-2043-26022007-another-day.html

Last update - 20:43 26/02/2007

Another day, another explosives factory. It is called "Zionist oppression."



IDF troops uncover third explosives factory in Nablus raid
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press


Israel Defense Forces troops on Monday uncovered an explosives laboratory in the West Bank city of Nablus, on the second day of an arrest operation in the city. The laboratory, which contained two gas balloons, pipe bombs, explosives, computers and electrical equipment, was the third uncovered by the IDF since Saturday.


Earlier Monday, Palestinian Anan al-Tibi, 50, was killed and his son was injured day during the raid in Nablus. Al-Tibi was killed by a bullet to the neck while walking down a street with his son in the old city, breaking the army's curfew. His son was wounded in his leg from the gunfire. The two were apparently unarmed.

IDF troops sealed off the center of Nablus' old city with cement blocks and trash containers Monday, and moved from apartment to apartment in search of seven Palestinian fugitives whose names the army broadcast over local TV and radio stations.

The raid is the largest IDF raid in the West Bank in months, with about 80 jeeps, armored vehicles and bulldozers moving around Nablus. Troops enforced a curfew that confined tens of thousands of Palestinians to their homes.

IDF troops also arrested the manager of the city's local television station, 43-year-old Naif Bariq.

Nablus's schools and the university remained closed on Monday, and reports from Nablus indicate that one of the schools has been transformed into a makeshift holding facility, where the IDF rounds up Palestinians and conducts preliminary investigations.

The defense establishment decided to conduct the operation following growing reports of intentions by local terrorist rings to carry out bombings. The Shin Bet was worried about relative improvements in the effectiveness of explosive devices and about the magnitude of recent plans for attacks.

Four IDF battalions, assisted by the border police, raided the city's casbah and began searching for suspects and weapons. The IDF's wanted list includes six key Fatah militants and several dozens collaborators from Fatah and Islamic Jihad.

Residents said soldiers moved from house to house, searching every room.

Mohammed Attireh, 47, who lives in the area, said all the residents of his building were ordered to stay in his apartment while troops searched the other apartments. Then the group of more than 20 people was taken to another house, while soldiers searched his apartment.

Attireh said troops took over two houses on his street as temporary positions, and that almost every house in the neighborhood was searched.

Seven members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, were the apparent target of the raid.

In a new tactic, troops broke into transmissions of local TV and radio stations Sunday and broadcast the names of the men, all residents of the old city. Soldiers warned civilians against hiding the fugitives.

Abir Kilani, director of the local TV station Gama, said her broadcasts were interrupted several times by the army. Kilani noted that this method is much more effective and cheaper than the military's previous tactic of dropping leaflets with messages to residents.

Dozens of Al-Aqsa gunmen operate in Nablus, organized in small groups without a central authority. Residents have complained that some of the gunmen are terrorizing the city by settling personal scores in shooting attacks, acting as self-appointed vice squads or engaging in black mail.

Two Al-Aqsa gunmen, brothers Ahmed and Alaa Sanakra, said all fugitives had gone into hiding, but were communicating with each other. Alaa Sanakra said the IDF raid helped unite the splintered groups, but left the gunmen worried.

The Nablus operation began before dawn Sunday with bulldozers closing main roads with piles of rubble. Soldiers ordered residents to remain indoors and said the clampdown would remain in effect for several days.

Soldiers uncovered two explosives labs in what the IDF said would be an open-ended sweep. Palestinian officials charged that the offensive threatened efforts to restart peace negotiations.

The army said the road closures and curfew were necessary to avoid civilian casualties.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Peretz views the world through capped binoculars

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/02/peretz-views-world-through-capped.html

Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz, who has been accused of incompetence in the past, was caught viewing a training exercise through capped binoculars. In Ha'aretz, Gideon Levy comments that the storm of criticism this raised is due to prejudice against non-Ashkenazy Jews. Actually it is probably prejudice against defense ministers who lose wars and can't use binoculars.


Everybody should have a chance to be defense minister, regardless of ethnic origin, intelligence quotient, esperience or aptitude, right? This can create a trend: Language teachers who cannot spell, Mathematics professors who cannot solve equations, finance ministers who cannot add and subtract...


Israeli Defense Minister Inspects War Moves Through Capped Binoculars

Friday, February 23, 2007



Israel's beleaguered minister of defense was blinded by criticism over photos taken of him watching military maneuvers through binoculars with the lens caps still on.

Various newspapers published photos of the in-the-dark Amir Peretz peering through the dysfunctional binoculars during an inspection of Israeli troops in the Syria-bordering Golan Heights, the BBC reported.


Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi pointed out the war moves and explained them to Peretz, who looked through the capped device three times and nodded, according to the BBC, even though all he saw was black.


"The outlook is dark for Peretz," joked top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot.


Photographs splashed across Israel's two major newspapers on Thursday, showed Peretz, lips set in concentration, face tilted to the light and eyes glued to binoculars ... with their black lens caps still firmly on.

Alongside him, his right-hand man, Ashkenazi, kitted out in battle dress, expertly adjusts his own binoculars to watch troops going through their paces on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Peretz, a former trade union chief whose own military experience is limited to national service, has been vilified in Israel for his perceived mishandling of last year's war in Lebanon.

A vast majority of Israelis want him to resign from the defense ministry on the grounds of chronic incompetence and military inexperience.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Suicide bombing mastermind killed

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/02/suicide-bombing-mastermind-killed.html

The Palestinians no doubt will write about the human rights violations of the Zionist war mongers... Without a real suicide bombing there is no "justification" for Israeli "incursions" it seems. Note the difference in Reuters reporting.





Last update - 10:28 21/02/2007
Israeli troops kill Jenin-area Islamic Jihad chief
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/828670.html
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
Israeli undercover troops killed an Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank town of Jenin on Wednesday, one day after a bombing attempt he allegedly ordered was thwarted in Tel Aviv.
The slain man was identified as Mahmoud Abu Ubayed, commander of the Jihad in areas near Jenin. Witnesses said Abu Ubayed was driving his car near the Yihya Ayyash Square in Jenin when undercover troops surprised him and sprayed the vehicle with bullets. The square was named for a Hamas bombing mastermind killed in an Israeli-ordered attack in 1996.

The planned large-scale suicide bomb attack in the Tel Aviv area was prevented Tuesday when police and security forces arrested an Islamic Jihad militant and his partners at an apartment in Bat Yam.

The army had no immediate comment.

Army Radio said Abu Ubayed dispatched the suspected bomber, a resident of a village near Jenin. Islamic Jihad last carried out a suicide attack in Israel on January 29, when three people were killed in the Red Sea resort of Eilat.

The suspect told police where the explosive device he was supposed to use in the attack was located and the bomb squad found the large device in a garbage can in the center of Rishon Letzion.

The would-be bomber, 24, was identified in a statement the organization released to the Palestinian press.

On Tuesday morning, the militant left his village of Jiblun, which borders the Green Line east of Jenin, carrying a bag with a bomb. Close to midday the Shin Bet received a warning that a terrorist attack was in progress. This information triggered an extensive manhunt.

In the afternoon, police declared a state of high alert in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area and set up several roadblocks, especially in the city's southern quarters. Police patrolled the streets, carried out spot-checks on vehicles and searched the yards of buildings. Helicopters carried out searches from the air.

The police activity resulted in heavy traffic delays in the broader Dan region.
The searches succeeded in locating the terrorist in a Bat Yam apartment housing Palestinians without legal permits to be in Israel.

The would-be suicide bomber was questioned by the security forces and a short while later, he led investigators to the center of Rishon Letzion where he had dropped off the bomb in a trash can.

Police demolitions experts carried out a controlled explosion of the device after evacuating dozens of nearby buildings.

The militant said he had been ordered to carry out the suicide bombing in southern Tel Aviv. It
appears the target was supposed to have been the area of the central bus station.

It is still unclear why the militant decided to hide the explosive device he was carrying in Rishon Letzion and then proceed to Bat Yam, and not go directly to the target area.

The three Palestinians living in the Bat Yam apartment were also arrested and the Shin Bet is trying to figure out whether they were in any way involved in the planning of the attack, or whether they thought the would-be bomber was a laborer like them.

Following the arrest the state of alert in the Tel Aviv area was lowered and most of the road blocks were lifted.

A senior security source told Haaretz that the Shin Bet and police activity are worthy of praise and that their resourcefulness has led to the prevention of a major terrorist attack.

"There is no doubt that a major disaster was prevented," Major General David Tzur, commander of the Tel Aviv police district said Tuesday.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility Tuesday night for the attempted attack in Tel Aviv. The organization has refused to participate in the hudna - the temporary cease-fire to which Hamas has signed up - and has continued its efforts to carry out suicide bomb attacks.

Jihad also announced recently that it would not participate in the Palestinian government of national unity, which Hamas and Fatah agreed upon in a Saudi-brokered accord earlier this month.

The United States has placed a bounty on the head of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah, based in Damascus, and the organization has warned that if its leader is harmed it will also target American interests.

Islamic Jihad is considered to be an organization that is supported and funded by Iran. The militant group participated in a suicide bombing in Eilat, in late January, that claimed the lives of three Israeli civilians.

The Islamic Jihad network in the northern West Bank is considered to be the most lethal in the territories. In 2006 its members were responsible for two suicide bombings in Tel Aviv, killing 11 Israeli civilians.

Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin said recently that during the past year more than 1,000 Islamic Jihad activists were arrested in the West Bank, of which the security services described 96 as "potential suicide bombers."

[Remainder of the article is irrelevant]




NEWSDESK
Israeli forces kill Islamic Jihad man, group says

21 Feb 2007 07:38:30 GMT21 Feb 2007 07:38:30 GMT

(Adds background)
http://mobile.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21283461.htm
JENIN, West Bank, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Israeli undercover forces killed an Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank on Wednesday, the militant group said, a day after Israeli police announced they foiled a planned suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.
Islamic Jihad identified him as Mahmoud Abu al-Jahim, its commander in the northern West Bank.

An Israeli army spokeswoman in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment on the shooting in the city of Jenin, a Palestinian militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank..
Jahim was killed a day after Israeli police arrested a suspected Palestinian bomber and several accomplices hiding in an apartment near Tel Aviv. A police spokesman said they had planned to stage an attack in the city hours later.

Israel Army Radio said Jahim had dispatched the suspected bomber, a resident of a village near Jenin. Islamic Jihad last carried out a suicide attack in Israel on January 29, when three people were killed in the Red Sea resort of Eilat.
Witnesses said Jahim was driving his car when undercover troops surprised him and sprayed the vehicle with bullets.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Security cabinet decides to step up response to Qassam fire

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/11/httpwwwhaaretzcomhasenspages791471html.html

Last update - 16:30 22/11/2006


Security cabinet decides to step up response to Qassam fire

By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/791471.html

The security cabinet, debating ways to counter Qassam fire on southern Israel, decided Wednesday to intensify Israel's response to rocket attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip.

The ministers approved a series of measures, including attacks on Hamas institutions, and called for the IDF to aim for a "significant halt" to the Qassam rocket fire, to increase "pinpoint preventions" - a euphemism for targeted killings - and to prepare for a ground operation in Gaza, evacuated by Israel last year.

The IDF will in coming days present detailed objectives to a committee of deputy prime ministers, which has the power to authorize military operations.

The cabinet also instructed the army to prepare a plan for an extensive operation to counter the increased Palestinian military might in Gaza. The plan will soon after be presented for cabinet approval.

During the meeting, the ministers engaged in a heated debate about the reintroduction of targeted killings as a means of deterring rocket fire, although the issue was not put to the vote.

The debate touched on the difference between targeting terrorists about to carry out an attack or fire rockets and killing people who were previously involved in terrorism, but who now held political positions.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter also expressed doubt over the efficacy of actions against Hamas institutions.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert concluded the meeting by saying that the military action needs to have clear objectives, as "pinpoint prevention is not an aim in itself, rather it is intended as a means to an end."

At the start of the debate, Olmert said that the aim of the new military measures was "to stop the Qassam fire," and pointed out that Dichter had proposed just that at the last meeting of the full cabinet.

The prime minister later added that the IDF and the Shin Bet security service had ruled out a complete end to the rocket fire as a viable option. Olmert then decided to aim for a "significant halt" to the Qassams so as not to present an unachievable objective.

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