Daily Israel Report

Livni Fed up with Rockets, Calls for Re-Thinking Truce

Livni said she is fed up with rocket attacks and is demanding action. She also has an eye on the polls, which show her Kadima party trailing.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/7/2008, 6:29 AM

Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

Kadima party leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reportedly will tell the Cabinet Sunday she wants a meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to consider taking action against Gaza terrorists attacking Israel. Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon (Kadima) is said to join her demand. Southern Israel was shelled during the Sabbath with more than 20 rockets and mortar shells.  

 

She previously has said that Israel does not have to retaliate so long as the attacks do not cause serious damage or bodily damage. Most of the area south of Ashkelon is open farmland, but rockets and shelling previously have caused 10 deaths of Sderot residents as well as serious injury and widespread damage.

 

The government has limited IDF retaliation to striking rocket launching cells that electronic equipment spots in the act of attacking Israel. Two aerial counterterrorist actions Saturday night struck two cells, killing one terrorist and wounding a second.

 

Prime Minister Olmert and the Hamas terrorist organization that controls Gaza agreed to a ceasefire on June 19 that was supposed to last approximately six months and be renewed with an extension to Judea and Samaria. Under the unsigned agreement, all attacks on Israel and IDF counterterrorist operations were to cease.
Under the unsigned agreement, all attacks on Israel and counterterrorist operations were to cease.

 

In addition, Israel promised to keep open the Gaza crossings and complete a deal for opening the Rafiah Crossing with Egypt in exchange for the safe return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

 

However, more than four dozen rockets and mortars sporadically broke the truce until early last month, when it disintegrated completely following intelligence information that terrorists had built and intended to use a smuggling tunnel near the security barrier to kidnap soldiers.

 

The IDF pounced on the tunnel, killing several terrorists, and terrorists followed with an almost daily barrage of rockets and mortars.

 

No significant progress has been reported in the attempt to free Shalit, and Hamas claimed that the agreement stated he would be released only after Israel freed more than 1,000 Arab terrorists and Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners.

 

Foreign Minister Livni, facing a widening gap in pre-election polls in favor of the rival Likud party led by former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said that the ceasefire is not being observed by either side and that the time has come for tougher military action.

 

Since June 19, Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) and the government have stood by the agreement not to retaliate, except to close Gaza crossings and stage pinpoint attacks on cells that are caught in the act of launching rockets and mortars.