Photo: AP
Photo: Reuters
'At any cost.' Sharon
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Gaza school after IDF strike
Photo: Reuters

Sharon: Stop rocket fire by any means

PM says, 'there are no plans for a one time operation, but for continuous action against Qassam rocket attacks,' as the IAF strikes Gaza targets; no less than 207 wanted Palestinians nabbed in West Bank, most of them senior Hamas political officials

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered security forces Sunday to use any means necessary to put an end to barrage of Qassam rockets fired at the Sderot and western Negev communities over the weekend.


Operation “First Rain,” which is not limited in time, was launched early Sunday with the bombardment of several targets in Gaza and with a wave of arrests of no less than 207 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, most of them senior Hamas political officials.


In a cabinet meeting held just hours before the Likud Central Committee meeting that may decide the prime minister’s political future, he said, “I have instructed (the security forces) that there is no limit on the means at their disposal to hurt the terrorists, their equipment and hiding places."


The prime minister reiterated that, “all means may be used and, apart from our general policy not to hurt civilians, everything must be done to stop this severe phenomenon. This cannot continue.”


No time limit


“I convened the cabinet on Saturday to discuss the issue and determine that the fire emanating from Gaza at the western Negev communities must be stopped. We are planning a one-time operation, but continuous activity aimed at planning to hurt the terrorists.”


“On Saturday the security establishment presented steps aimed at stopping this severe phenomenon. I am certain we are capable of eradicating the terror directed against us – not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank as well, where the operation is also not limited in time.”


During the weekend some 40 Qassam rockets were fired at Sderot and western Negev communities. Members of the security cabinet, who convened Saturday evening to discuss the escalation in Gaza, approved defense establishment recommendations for a series of military operations in a bid to stop the rocket strikes.


During the session, ministers agreed to approve artillery fire on Gaza targets, the renewal of targeted assassinations of terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza, strikes on Palestinian infrastructure, arrests of terror suspects, and a curb on the entry of Palestinian laborers into Israel.


In the early hours of Sunday morning, cannons were positioned along the border with Gaza; later forces conducted what they defined as “practice-fire” of cannon shells into open fields. 


Meanwhile the cabinet on Sunday approved a bill proposed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who advised the government to finance legal protection for members of the security establishment threatened by legal action abroad.


Livni's proposal comes in light of an arrest warrant issued in the U.K. this month against former IDF Southern Command Chief Doron



Livni told cabinet ministers that in Almog's case her ministry hired a leading law firm to represent the retired IDF commander.


She added that in the future Israeli security officials will be entitled to unlimited legal assistance including access to European lawyers. 


פרסום ראשון: 09.25.05, 11:33
 new comment
This will delete your current comment