The security cabinet has decided to expand the Israel Defense Forces operations in Gaza, including stepping up targeted killings of wanted terrorists and striking unoccupied Hamas institutions in Gaza.
During the meeting, the cabinet decided also to target all leaders of the Kassam cells and networks as well as the “Dawaa” network of charities run by Hamas. The purpose of hitting those institutions, which will be conducted only when they are not occupied, is to create a deterrence system for Kassams hitting public institutions in Sderot.
The proposal to strike the political echelon of Hamas which was also raised during the meeting was harshly opposed by the General Security Services chief Yuval Diskin who said that this policy has not benefited Israel in the past.
After some debate, the Cabinet decided to accept Diskin’s position and not target Hamas politicians, even those who were involved in terrorism in the past and recently transferred to the organization’s political wing.
Prime Minister Olmert also ordered the IDF to prepare plans for a large scale operation in Gaza which is meant to take care of Hamas’ strengthening in Gaza. In regard to the Kassam attacks, Olmert said that an objective of a complete end to Kassam fire is completely unrealistic, therefore only a drastic reduction can be discussed.