In a security briefing during the weekly cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Amir Peretz reported that there is an escalation in the conflict between Hamas and Fatah, and that the internal Palestinian conflict could ultimately be directed towards Israel.
Peretz added that there is a need to avoid involvement in the internal Palestinian issues, but with the efforts of Hamas to expand their activities to the West Bank as well, he ordered to step-up the efforts to prevent them from establishing a substantial military-security presence in the West Bank.
Peretz also added that over the past few days, security forces had arrested 110 terror activists in the West Bank, four of which were potential suicide bombers.
“The ongoing stalemate on the Palestinian front could bring to a violent eruption. Therefore we will exercise our judgment with any decision we make regarding large scale incursions into Gaza which are not consistent with the interests of Israel. We will act wherever it is needed,” Peretz said.
Peretz also updated the ministers of his conversations with the German defense minister and emphasized the need for coordination with the rest of the international forces acting within UNIFIL. Peretz said that the UNIFIL force will receive full cooperation from Israel.
Peretz also said that other than the “helicopter incident,” he knows about one more training mission over the Mediterranean. “The German ship might have seen flares released by the jet,” he said, and mentioned that he ordered to improve the coordination with the Germans.