Saying no to the IDF: the Security Cabinet decided Thursday afternoon not to broaden the military operations in southern Lebanon, and to reject the army's request for a large-scale reserve call-up, aimed at expanding ground incursions in the region.
The Cabinet also stressed Israel had no intention of opening a new front with Syria, and that actions against Hizbullah will continue in the same manner exercised until now.
Justice Minister Haim Ramon said in the meeting that "a village like Bint Jbeil, whose residents were alerted to evacuate and had left the place, and in which only Hizbullah gunmen remained, should be pounded from the air and with artillery before ground troops enter."
Ramon also called on the Cabinet to authorize strikes against civilian infrastructure used by Hizbullah, including electricity. "Hizbullah must not be allowed to use civilian population as human shields," he stated. "Even international law allows to target places from which shooting attacks are being carried out, especially after they have been warned," he added.
Minister Eli Yishai, a member of the Cabinet, also said in this regard: "We should pound from the air villages that show resistance, after we have alerted the residents they should leave. We must not enter villages where Hizbullah terrorists are hiding before we have turned them into 'sand boxes'."
'No defense leadership'
Ynet was notified that a senior minister who participated in the meeting of the "group of seven" (forum of deputies to the prime minister), said during the discussion Wednesday: "What we are lacking is a defense leadership who will make decisions about the continuation of activities in Lebanon. Enough with the chatter. Somebody needs to make decisions. That apparently is us, so please make appropriate decisions."
The defense establishment is denying the claims made by the minister that there is no defense management who will make decisions: "Just because there are considerations, doesn't mean there aren't decisions.
Decisions are made in the appropriate forums for seeing the IDF through to continuing and accumulating achievements. We are doing the job," it was reported.
Amongst cabinet members, there are differences of opinion about the policy of deploying IDF troops in southern Lebanon, and perhaps even deeper into the country. Next to those demanding "to flatten" villages prior to IDF's entrance in order to prevent ambushes to the tune of what happened yesterday in Bint Jbeil, there are also minister calling to limit IDF operations in order to avoid difficult losses and to prevent widened international criticism. These ministers request utmost precision in IDF operations. From their point of view, send in more forces is likely to be a source of damage to the fighting troops.