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Israel's chiefs debate on truce or military operation in Gaza

Israel's chiefs debate on truce or military operation in Gaza

Israel's top leadership debated yesterday whether to pursue a truce with Hamas' Gaza rulers, or embark on a broad military operation against Palestinian militants who torment southern Israel with rocket and mortar barrages.
For months, Egypt has been trying to broker a truce between the two sides in an effort to halt the deadly cycle of militant attacks on southern Israel, followed by Israeli air and ground strikes on the Gaza Strip. But the cease-fire efforts have faltered over Israel's demand that Hamas free an Israeli soldier captured two years ago and Hamas' demand that Israel lift a blockade that has confined Gazans to their tiny seaside territory and deepened their poverty.
Although it has long threatened to launch a large-scale incursion against Gaza militants, Israel has so far limited its military operations to pinpoint strikes.
A broad campaign carries the the risk of high Israeli military and Palestinian civilian casualties, and that has been the major deterrent.
But with four Israelis killed so far this year, Israel's leadership is under domestic pressure to do something about the near-daily assaults on its territory. On Tuesday, Israel's leading troika _ Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni _ is to sit down to discuss what course to take.
Overhanging their discussion will be a new corruption probe against Olmert, which threatens to topple him and possibly his government. Both Livni and Barak are working to unseat Olmert, but a Gaza operation could put any political maneuvers on hold.
Just before they meet, the full Cabinet will devote part of its weekly session to discussing the situation in Gaza, and ministers with security responsibilities are to hold further talks on Gaza tomorrow.


Updated : 2021-04-10 20:45 GMT+08:00