Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday continued to resist ordering decisive military action against Gaza-based terrorists, as a growing number of cabinet ministers insisted on such a course of action.
Olmert and Barak convened their security cabinet on Wednesday morning to discuss how best to handle escalating rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Another rocket and several mortar shells were fired at Israeli towns during the morning hours while local children were on their way to school. No injuries were reported.
Led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, most cabinet members demanded that Barak immediately order a crushing military response to the rocket fire.
Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit was particularly outspoken, insisting that is the residents of Gaza, not of southern Israel, that should be constructing bomb shelters and reinforcing their public buildings.
Barak reportedly lashed out at the other ministers, stating that the political discussion over what to do was unnecessary, and that he would order what he believed to be the proper response at what he believed to be the proper time.
Olmert made a similar remark a day earlier while visiting residents of the battered southern Israel town of Sderot.
"Israel will not tolerate rocket attacks," declared Olmert before very vaguely pronouncing that his government will "know how to react."
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