Senior minister: No defense leadership to make decisions
Security Cabinet discusses IDF suggestion to broaden operation in Lebanon. Wednesday night senior minister criticizes: 'We are lacking defense leadership who will make decisions about continuation of operations; enough chatter.' Minister of defense, at this point, prefers to avoid broadening IDF activity in Lebanon for fear of complications
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."
Soldiers after deadly battle in Bint Jbeil (Photo: AP)
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.
The Security Cabinet will gather, as mentioned, Thursday afternoon in order to decide on the issue after it has been reported that the political and military objectives have yet to be achieved until now. The prime minister and the defense minister tend to suggest a continuation of the operation "in a restricted manner, including ground entrances, and to avoid a prolonged stay in southern Lebanon."
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.
How far will IDF advance?
A few ministers will ask for clarification if the IDF has set the northernmost lines it will send troops into Lebanon. This is out of fear of complications akin to those of the Lebanese War of 1982. These ministers have expressed concern that deplorable events on the model of Kfar Kana in Operation Grapes of Wrath or a large strike on IDF soldiers will not drag Israel into unnecessary complications.
The cabinet is expected to examine IDF operations until now, and also to receive a summary of the political situation from the foreign minister, after the Rome Convention that assembled Wednesday to discuss the Lebanese crisis. At this point, according to the estimation of the political apparatus, Israel enjoys broad support in the Western world, even though criticism of Israel is on the rise. The publication of claims that the US will support IDF operations up to the Litani River, deep in Lebanon, published in Saudi newspaper, al-Watan, were not verified by the cabinet ministers.
Wednesday, Prime Minister Olmert toured the north, at which time he said, "The military operation will not last months, and even if it lasts longer than we planned, we will know to coordinate it with solutions for our citizens. I do not intend to announce when we will stop the operation. That, they (Hizbullah) will learn on their own, the hard way."