Israel Weighs Ground Offensive As Gaza Rockets Increase
JERUSALEM POST, HAARETZ, IDF (Israel), AL-AYYAM(Palestinian Territory), CNN (USA)
Israeli politicians were divided on Monday over the possibility of military ground operations in the Gaza Strip, as rockets rained down on Israel for the third day in a row, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich told Army Radio she was against intensive military action: "We are on the eve of elections, and operations beyond air attacks or targeted strikes require stability and national consensus at home."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz disagreed, saying that over time, rocket fire would hit closer and closer to Israel's center, and said Israel "cannot simply adjust and shield itself."
At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was prepared to intensify its response: “The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit idly by in the face of attempts to attack us.”
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip continued to fire rockets at southern Israel on Monday, despite Egyptian efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas to reach a cease-fire agreement, reported Haaretz.
According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), more than 114 rockets have hit southern Israel since Saturday.
How did your day begin? Here in #Israel, a rocket fired from #Gaza hit a house. twitter.com/IDFSpokesperso…
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) November 12, 2012
Israeli airstrikes hit Palestinian targets in Gaza overnight, scoring direct hits on a "terror tunnel" and a weapons storage facility, reported CNN.
"The Israeli Defense Forces will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel," said an Israel Defense Forces statement on Monday.
In the southern Israeli city of Netivot, classes were canceled in all schools that are not fortified against rockets, said Haaretz.
Since Saturday, the violence has left six Palestinians dead, including four civilians, and 40 wounded, including four Israeli soldiers.
Meanwhile, on Monday Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam quoted on its front page President Mahmoud Abbas as saying "We will go to New York despite the enormous pressure to abandon."
On Sunday, Abbas announced that he was going to the U.N. this month to ask the General Assembly to recognize an independent Palestine. "Some powers are trying to tell us that the two-state solution doesn't come from the U.N. but through negotiations," he said. "Negotiations are crucial. But to get U.N. recognition is also key."