Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday rejected a proposal by Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the Israel Defense Forces for a ground operation in the northern Gaza Strip against the ongoing Qassam rocket fire.
Olmert demanded that they present him with an approved operational plan.
According to government sources, the operation, which will target Beit Hanun, will take place, but Olmert wants the operation to be “prolonged and exhausting,” and did not believe that the plan he was shown fit the bill.
Consider this comment from Aaron Lerner of IMRA: “It is not clear why the Olmert team appears to have provided this face-saving spin only to Haaretz” in the context of PM Rejects Beit Hanun Plan as ‘No Good’ and this Quote of the week: Halutz “We cannot just wait until more of our people are killed so we can get permission to defend ourselves” MB
Former US envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross said on Thursday that Israel mustn’t negotiate for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped on Sunday and whose release was the main objective behind the recent IDF incursion into the Gaza Strip.
He asserted that negotiations would only bring about more kidnappings.
Ross told Israel Radio that the Palestinians must understand that their leaders in Damascus are only making them suffer, while the leaders sit safely in Syria. The former envoy called upon the US to apply pressure on Hamas leader in Damascus Khaled Mashaal.
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz refused a request by the Shin Bet security service and the government to place dozens of senior Hamas officials under administrative detention or hold them as “bargaining chips” under the Unlawful Combatants Law.
Mazuz insisted that the arrests be carried out under ordinary criminal warrants that would require legal proceedings against the Hamas officials under the Prevention of Terror Ordinance. They will probably be charged with membership in or leadership of a terrorist organization.
The detainees will be brought before a judge for a remand hearing within the next 96 hours, and legal proceedings against them will be carried out in military courts in the territories.
A Justice Ministry spokesperson said that the change in policy towards ministers and parliamentarians who are members of Hamas was carried out with the approval of and in coordination with the judiciary, and that Israel intends on arresting more Hamas officials.
“We are talking about people suspected of criminal violations such as membership in terror organizations, affiliation with terrorist leadership, and other violations,” the spokesperson said.
“The criminal proceedings will follow accepted legal standards. The suspects will be entitled to legal defense, and the arrest and investigation will be subject to judicial oversight. If a charge against a suspect is found to be baseless, he will be released,” the spokesperson added.