Israel army told to stop Gaza rockets

2011-11-01 22:13

Jerusalem - Israel has authorised its military to take all necessary steps to stop rocket fire from Gaza, including a ground operation, an Israeli military official said on Tuesday, as Egypt worked on a truce and said Israel had agreed to delay stepping up its response.

The Israeli government decision stopped well short of ordering tanks to roll into Gaza, and it appeared unlikely that would happen, as rocket fire all but stopped over the past day. The official said the decision authorised the military to take proportionate measures, meaning that a ground offensive would be ordered only after massive rocket fire.

The Israeli official spoke on condition of anonymity because no statement was made.

Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday that Egypt obtained an Israeli pledge to hold its fire while efforts were under way to persuade Palestinian militants to stop the rocket barrages.

The sudden spike in violence began when militants in Gaza started firing salvos at Israel late last week, and Israeli retaliated with airstrikes. One Israeli civilian and at least Palestinian 10 militants were killed in the worst violence on that front in months.

The confrontation threatened to spiral into a larger conflict, and Egypt stepped in to try to restore calm.

"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 Associated Press on Tuesday.

On Monday, Netanyahu warned from the podium of the Israeli parliament that Israel would operate "vigorously and resolutely" against those who would threaten its security.

"A security philosophy cannot rely on defence alone," Netanyahu said. "It must also include offensive capabilities, the very foundation of deterrence."

Schools closed

Mark Regev, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel's position has not changed.

The military said there have been no Israeli airstrikes since around midnight on Monday. Two rockets were fired from Gaza during that time. The relative calm prevailed through Tuesday afternoon.

The rocket attacks have disrupted life in southern Israel, forcing schools to close. About 1 million Israelis live within range of rockets from Gaza.

The Islamic Jihad faction was behind the initial rocket attacks. On Sunday the militant faction agreed to stop the violence if Israel also did. Rocket fire that drew retaliatory Israeli airstrikes persisted afterwards, but it was claimed by a different militant group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Gaza's ruling Hamas group, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in past violence, has not directly been involved in the attacks. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence from the territory.

Also Tuesday, Hamas said the Israeli military arrested one of its leaders in the West Bank, Hassan Youssef. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri called the move "a dangerous Israeli escalation against Hamas and against one of the symbols of the elected Palestinian legitimacy".

Youssef, a member of the Palestinian parliament, was released from an Israeli prison in August after serving six years.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since taking it over in June 2007 during a civil war with its rival, Fatah. The West Bank is governed by the Palestinian Authority, run by President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, who, unlike Hamas, favours a negotiated settlement with Israel.

  • MiriamBawden - 2011-11-02 07:10

    Go get em boys! G-d bless Israel*

      Barry - 2011-11-02 07:24

      Yes bless them. They know not what they do.

      Dirk - 2011-11-02 07:58

      May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless Israel and protect them against the marauding barbarians from the surrounding terrorist supporting territories

  • Adam - 2011-11-02 09:14

    @barry, your pathetic attempts to undermine the states right to exist is as transparent as palestinians false pledge to peace. the only possible way to condemn israel after reading this article is if you are 1)stupid 2)an islamic terrorist. it may be argued the 2 are not mutually exclusive.

      Barry - 2011-11-02 09:28

      @Adam. I am allowed to have an opinion just as you are welcome to carry on being a religious radical. You carry on hiding behind religion to justify Israeli atrocities. It is comforting to know that many Israeli's do not think like you and actually realize they are doing wrong. So I gather you are looking forward to the next chapter in indiscriminate murder of palestinian women and children ?

      Jaba - 2011-11-02 10:03

      Stop your nonsensical babbling Barry. The Arabs have started six wars, all of which have been won by Israel. There is also the little matter of seven decades of terror. There is no "land grab." If you forment war and violence, you have to pay the price. In the instant case, the price has been loss of land. How much "justice" do a violent and aggressive people deserve? Do you expect Israel to have to go back to square one each time? That is not how international law and convention work. Sorry. There are consequences to starting wars; there are consequences to engaging in violence and terror, and the ersatz "Palestinians" have to take their lumps, just like everyone else. Germany lost 25% of its land mass following World War II. Italy lost Istria following World War II. Japan lost Iwo Jima (restored to it in 1968) and Okinawa (20% of which was restored to it in 1972; the United States has kept the rest). Honesty, peace and justice? Alien concepts to the ersatz "Palestinians." You cannot put toothpaste back into the tube. It is time for the ersatz "Palestinians" to suck it up and understand that you live the consequences of your actions. Even if you don't like the outcome. They are the ones for the dust heap of history. And you are incredibly stupid if you think that law and convention will be rewritten simply because you do not like Jews or Israel. Deal with it. Boo hoo hoo.

      Barry - 2011-11-02 10:08

      @Adam. @Adam. This clip is a few years old. Still I think it is worth discussing. It also refers you my question to you in my previous post here. Is this some you would be proud of as an Israeli ?

      Erica - 2011-11-02 10:28

      Have any of you been to Israel? I've been there and saw how Jews and Arabs co-exist. Quite happily. Arabs/muslims enjoy freedom in Israel as opposed to their counterparts in other Arab countries. Don't even start on women and children! The majority of muslim countries see women and girl children as livestock. In Israel they will have a better chance. Also IDF soldiers put their lives on the line to help injures Arabs who are innocent. I am proud of my Jewish lineage. Yes, something I only recently after always wondering why I want to be among the Jewish people and are drawn to the Jewish culture. My ancestry was persecuted for being Jews and were forced to either turn Catholic or burn.

      Barry - 2011-11-02 11:35

      @Erica. Yes I have been to Israel. I speak knowing the situation full well in Israel. I also know quite a few Israelis who hold similar opinions to me.

  • Erica - 2011-11-02 09:49

    When your very existence is threatenend and a palooka keeps saying he wants to wipe Israel from the map, then I think it is quite clear why Israel is putting these measures in place and fighting the way they do. What that palooka (also boasting he has the nuclear power to destroy Israel) doesn't realise - the biggest nuclear threat to his and his country's existence is in his own backyard! Tick tock tick tock .. All along Israeli politicians emphasise that they want to negotiate, have peace talks etc - while the fundamentalist muslim factions cry for Israel's destruction and blood. No one has faced the magnitude and scale of threats of annihalation and discrimination such as the Jews have.

  • Adam - 2011-11-02 10:40

    i think the name of this article sums up the situation pretty nicely.

      Barry - 2011-11-02 17:26

      Well is USA propaganda. So if one is brain washed to such things...

  • Bradley - 2011-11-02 11:19

    all these rockets fired and like one hit...LOL cant they aim? shame shows their over all ability to try and do any thing.

  • Derek - 2011-11-03 07:39

    Here we go again, Israel getting ready to slaughter the innocent, it's disgusting!!!

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-11-03 08:00

      This has offcourse been going on because of their "YHWH" who appears, from accounts in the Old Testament, to be a particularly repulsive entity, vain, jealous, given to fits of rage and directing his followers to massacre civilian populations — an entity who, if he existed, would be quite unworthy of the devotion of anyone with a sense of justice and morality.

      Barry - 2011-11-04 20:31

      @Derek..Was there any doubt. Any excuse to kill palestinians

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