Israel avoids strong response to Gaza rocket fire

Friday, November 14, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told an emergency session of his cabinet on Friday that renewed Hamas rocket fire from the Gaza Strip is unacceptable, but then failed to authorize anything beyond the limited set of responses Israel has been employing for the past two weeks.

Palestinian forces operating out of Gaza fired at least 15 rockets at the southern Israel towns of Ashkelon and Sderot on Friday, wounding an elderly Israeli woman, leaving dozens suffering from shock and causing damage to homes and parked cars.

"The Israeli government sees the firing of missiles and attacks from Gaza as a basic violation of our ceasefire understanding and we will not tolerate it," Olmert was quoted as saying.

Olmert said that he would order the army to carry out more frequent small-scale raids and would continue to sporadically close the Gaza border crossings as a means of putting pressure on Hamas.

Those tactics have been in use since Hamas decided to end its informal ceasefire with Israel more than a week ago, to no avail.

Government sources close to Olmert insisted in remarks to Ynet that "we have not yet crossed the point of no return" - diplomatic-speak referencing the fact that the Hamas rockets had yet to kill an Israeli civilian - and that if Hamas were to halt the rocket fire Israel would consider the ceasefire back in effect.

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