Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich
said in a special Ynet Live broadcast that "Taking down Hamas
was not part of the goals of Operation Pillar of Defense.
Hitting its rockets has been harmful for Hamas and other terror organizations. Regaining both deterrence abilities and peace for residents of the south are achievable goals."
Yachimovich added that "So far we've had many achievements but there's more to be done. Those who promise to eliminate terror for ever delude themselves."
Also present at the live broadcast was Minister Gideon Saar. Discussing the implications of the mobilization of reserve forces Saar said: Assessments for the expansion of the operation are being carried out. The possibility of expanding the operation to (include) a ground operation exists.
Reservists awaiting orders (Photo: Ziv Reinstein)
"For now, we are making all the necessary preparations and extensive mobilization is a provision. The decision in the cabinet was that a ground operation was possible. The important thing is the goal. If we can reach it without a ground operation – even better."
Discussing reports of Hamas' ceasefire conditions, Saar said: "We are still not at the point of ending the operation. Hamas is not in a situation where it can lay down terms. The situation before the operation will not be allowed to continue after the operation, when there's security, it (the operation) will end.
"We have come to a joint conclusion for the entirety of Israel's population; 1.5 million citizens in the south cannot be allowed to live in fear of rocket fire which is the current situation over the last few days."
As for the suggestion that the elections be brought forward, Saar said: "The main thing is to put the political issues aside. It is too early to assess the political consequences. We need to make it our goal that the elections be held on time. These could be extreme scenarios but we're not there yet."
Rocket explosion site in Gush Etzion
Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni who served as foreign minister during the Second Lebanon War and during Operation Cast Lead, spoke of the importance of determining the goals of the operation.
"The conclusions of the Second Lebanon War were to define the goals in advance. Even during the operation there's a temptation to reach places we haven't thought of before and in my opinion, if it isn't necessary it can create a problem. Today, an exit point is critical."
Livni also addressed the political aspect of the operation. In her opinion deterrence is the goal that the government has defined. "I'm not criticizing, that's the goal, it's legitimate but it isn't enough in the long term. The State of Israel needs to think about what it's going to do with the Palestinian issue. The world isn't buying the story that Mahmoud Abbas is instigating terror; we need to determine a strategy."
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin was also in the live studio broadcast where he discussed his feelings after the rocket strikes on his hometown of Jerusalem on Friday night. "I wasn't astounded but I was definitely surprised by Hamas' ability to say 'there is no God' and decide to bomb holy Jerusalem," he said.
Ashdod residents wait in the shelters
Rivlin added: "We need to reach a clearly determined victory, Egypt also has to understand that Hamas cannot be allowed to run wild. The situation of the past few years cannot continue."
Ynet Palestinian Affairs Correspondent Elior Levi spoke to Hamas operative Rivhi Rantisi who said: "The Israeli Air Force has been bombing every few minutes, Gaza is being attacked day and night and the suffering is awful. There's a blackout in Gaza. In principle we are ready for a ceasefire but Hamas has terms and conditions.
"Tomorrow (Hamas) politburo chief Khaled Mashaal and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are coming to Egypt. I hope the sides will reach an understanding for a ceasefire."
Rantisi also addressed the assassination of Ahmad Al-Jabari: "Of course the entire leadership goes down to the bunkers for security reasons and no one goes out into the streets for walks… The assassination only strengthens Hamas' leadership. The fact that Hamas launches rockets all day is also a success for Hamas."
Meanwhile Knesset Member Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) said that "So far, the IDF has seen tremendous success. Nevertheless," he stressed, "if we send in ground units – problems will arise."
Ben Eliezer added: "I don’t think we need ground warfare, since aerial warfare has gained impressive achievements."