Security cabinet huddles over Gaza Strip violence, ceasefire with Hamas

Netanyahu says Israel will continue to operate against terror targets unless all attacks stop; Sunday marks first day without fires from Gaza arson devices

Binyamin Netanyahu on way to Security Cabinet

Times of Israel writes, “The top-level security cabinet was meeting on Sunday to discuss the ongoing Gaza Strip violence and the military options available, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that Israel wants a full ceasefire and nothing less. Netanyahu met with his senior ministers at the military headquarters in Tel Aviv. The meeting came as the status of an Egyptian and UN-brokered ceasefire, which Gaza’s Hamas rulers claim came into effect at the end of last week, remained unclear.”

“On Sunday evening a spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services said that Sunday marked the first day in several months that no fires were caused by incendiary balloons flown from Gaza toward Israeli communities bordering the coastal enclave. Earlier Netanyahu warned Hamas that Israel will continue to operate against the terrorism stemming from Gaza, apparently confirming that no official ceasefire agreement had been reached with the terrorist group. ‘We are in the midst of a campaign against terror in Gaza. It entails an exchange of blows; it will not end in one strike. Our demand is clear – a complete ceasefire. We will not suffice with less than this,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly full cabinet meeting. Senior Israel officials maintain the country has not agreed to the ceasefire which Hamas announced late Thursday and said went into effect at midnight. Hamas, a terror group which seeks to destroy Israel, claims the deal was mediated by Egypt and other regional players.”

smoke rises from bombed building in Gaza

“Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier on Sunday that Israel could overthrow Hamas, as a report indicated that Israel was mulling assassinating the leaders of the terrorist group which seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Haaretz daily reported that Israel has formulated a plan to assassinate members of the senior Hamas leadership, but is waiting to see the outcome of the Egypt and UN-brokered negotiations before implementing it. Defense sources told the newspaper that it is believed that assassinations are preferable to a wide-scale ground offensive in Gaza, while acknowledging that targeted killings could lead to the start of a military campaign. Sources also told the paper that the Israeli defense establishment hopes to delay any broad conflict until at least the end of 2019, when construction of a technological above- and below-ground barrier along the Gaza border will be completed.” (more…)


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