The Security Cabinet on Wednesday authorized Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to order security forces to prepare for an extended operation in Gaza intended to bring about the release of abducted soldier, Gilad Shalit.
Among the decisions taken by the Cabinet were the targeting of Hamas institutes and infrastructures in the West Bank that are used for terror planning and operations; limiting the freedom of movement of terrorists; and targeting Kassam cells.
Prior to Wednesday’s meeting Jerusalem officials expressed that a diplomatic solution is not in sight. A statement was issued by the Prime Minister’s office following the Cabinet meeting, "Our stance remains clear. There will be no negotiations over prisoner release in exchange for the Israeli hostage. Israel considers the Palestinian Authority responsible for returning Gilad Shalit to Israel safe and sound."
Prime Minister Olmert is expected to meet with the defense minister, IDF officers and representatives of the defense establishment later Wednesday, to discuss the implementation of their decisions.