Despite the rising tensions with the Palestinians and the IDF's large-scale preparations for incursions into Gaza, Defense Minister Amir Peretz has not decided to cancel next week's evacuation of illegal outposts in the West Bank.
However, defense officials said, "The evacuation is dependent on a possible incursion into the Gaza Strip."
Officials estimated that should a large-scale offensive be launched to free abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, the evacuation would be postponed.
Police and IDF forces have been instructed to prepare for the evacuation of 13 outposts in the West Bank next week.
IDF troops have ringed the Gaza Strip in anticipation for a ground offensive, which might require extra troops.
The options available to Peretz are well-defined: The release of Gilad Shalit is a top priority, with the second priority being operations against the terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as decided by the security cabinet on Sunday. So it is possible that despite Peretz and Olmert's will to evacuate the outposts, the implementation of the evacuations may be delayed.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report