U.S. President George W. Bush gave Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a green light to mount a comprehensive ground offensive against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, according to the London daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat ("The Middle East") which quoted diplomatic sources in Israel. The sources said that the two leaders discussed the matter during Bush's three-day visit to Israel last week.
The report says that while the two spoke about other issues including the Iranian nuclear threat, they talked at length about the continuous missile attacks on Israel from Gaza.
Prime Minister Olmert presented information about the sites from which rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israeli communities, and gave statistics regarding the extent of damage to Israeli civilians. He presented the U.S. president with intelligence data and even showed him photographs of the civilians injured by rockets and sent into psychological shock.
The newspaper reported that Olmert said Israel could no longer let its citizens be hostage to the w
Olmert said Israel could no longer let its citizens be hostage to the whims of Hamas terrorists.
hims of Hamas terrorists.
Bush: OK, but don't harm civilians
President Bush, however, voiced concern that a large-scale military operation would lead to a "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.
The sources said that Bush gave Olmert a green light for a military operation in Gaza, but that he also spelled out certain limitations and demanded that Olmert make sure the operation did not wind up hurting civilians.
Two rockets were fired at Israel over the Sabbath, with one hitting near Netiv HaAsara, just north of the Gaza security barrier and the other failing to clear the fence. A mortar shell was fired near the border fence at Nachal Oz, as well. No injuries or damage were reported.
The IDF began defensive operations against terrorism again after laying low for several days because of the Bush visit. IDF forces bombed a Hamas training camp in southern Gaza, killing two terrorists and injuring four, Hamas said.