Report: IDF Given Green Light in Gaza
IDF commanders were given the green light by officials in Jerusalem to take all necessary steps to stop rocket fire from Gaza on Tuesday, including undertaking ground operations as need be.
But military officials told the Associated Press, while the decision allowed the IDF to act in accordance with the severity of terror attacks from Gaza, it was unlikely a ground offensive would be ordered without massive rocket fire.
The sudden spike in rocket and mortar attacks on Israel's southern communities began when terrorists started launching large salvos at Israel over the weakened.
Israel has responded by maintaining its policy of airstrikes-for-rocket-attacks paradigm, which has marked - and maintained - Israel's poor security situation in the Gaza belt region.
One Israeli civilian and at least 12 Gaza terrorists have been killed in the exchange of fire that began on Saturday.
The IDF says there have been no Israeli airstrikes since around midnight Monday. Two rockets were fired from Gaza during that time.
Amid the exchange Egyptian officials have repeatedly lionized their own diplomatic efforts in recent days to secure 'Israeli restraint' in the face of wanton terror attacks on its civilian population.
"In the past few hours, Egypt saved Gaza from severe destruction and succeeded in securing Israeli restraint to give Egyptians time to reach a cease-fire agreement with Palestinian factions," Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Othman, told the AP.
On Monday, Netanyahu said Israel would have to incorporate an offensive element into its security policies, citing the Talmudic dictum "he who would harm us, his blood is on his head."
Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev responded to Egyptian claims saying Israel's position has not changed.
But critics say Netanyahu's rhetoric is not manifest in his government's actions, and that the so-called 'green light' given to the IDF is meaningless if it doesn't result in material changes to the strategic paradigm in Israel’s south.
Netanyahu has, thus far, resisted mounting calls from Israeli lawmakers and security experts – Including three former IDF chiefs of staff – to smash Hamas and root out Gaza's terror infrastructure.
Rocket and mortar attacks have disrupted life in southern Israel. On Tuesday local councils, ignoring IDF assurances the security threat was negligible, closed school for some 200,000 children.
The closure was seen by many observers as symptomatic of a growing loss of public faith in how Israel's leaders and security officials are handling national security affairs.
Some 1 million Israelis live within range of rockets from Gaza.