VIDEO - Against the difficult backdrop of casualties in southern Lebanon, the Security Cabinet approved the widening of operations in Lebanon. Soldiers will now be sent to operate against rocket launchers across the region. The aim – to find and destroy rocket launchers used to attack northern Israel. Nine cabinet ministers supported the operation, while three – Ophir Pines, Shimon Peres, and Eli Yishai – abstained. Cabinet members authorized the prime minister and defense minister to set the boundaries and outline of the operation. In recent days an operation until the Litani River had been discussed, in accordance with IDF recommendations. Defense Minister Amir Peretz supported in recent days the recommendation, and it was earlier reported that he will announce during the cabinet meeting that Israel would deal with areas used to fire rockets. He said the government had no intention of giving up Israel's right to provide protection for civilians and that there would be no diplomatic agreement that would not guarantee quiet and stability for many years to come. National Infrastructure Minister Eli Yishai backed the position of the majority upon leaving the meeting: "The defense minister and the prime minister will decide the precise timing of when the military operation will be expanded. In my opinion, it will go on for 30 days. We are in a war and there is a need to expand operations. It's correct to act in a more wide-scale manner." With that, Yishai added that he thought most operations should be aerial. "In the fight against Hizbullah we won. The dealing with the Katyusha rockets is different and therefore we must act aggressively and not abandon aerial activities. In my opinion, whole villages should be removed from the air when we have verified information that Katyusha rockets are being fired from there." During the Cabinet session, the prime minister spoke with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Up to now there are no reports of what the conversation was about. The Cabinet's decisions: To approve the plans suggested by the defense minister and the IDF for a continued operation in Lebanon, while taking into account a future diplomatic settlement in the area. In addition, operations aimed against the terror infrastructure will continue. The prime minister and defense minister will be authorized to set the date for launching the proposed plan. The current outliner of the military action against Hizbullah will carry on by the IAF, the Navy and the ground forces. The cabinet also discussed continued efforts towards a diplomatic arrangement, in cooperation with the United Nations Security Council. Israel is working towards five chief gaols, which were noted in the cabinet decision: The return of the kidnapped soldiers with no preconditions an immediate halt to all Hizbullah terror activity against Israel and Israeli targets, including ceasing rocket and missile attacks on Israel the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 the deployment of an effective international force along the Lebanon-Israeli border for the length of the Blue Line and the prevention of Hizbullah rearmament and its regaining operational capabilities, mainly by preventing weapons transfer to Lebanon from Syrian and Iran. It has also been agreed that the IDF will not enter Tyre, and the cabinet rejected a proposal by one of the ministers to target Lebanese government infrastructure, for fear this would undermine international support for Israel's moves. The United States urged Israel to use the "utmost care" In avoiding civilian casualties after its government decided on Wednesday to expand a ground offensive deeper into Lebanon. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack reiterated the US stand that Israel had a right to defend itself from Hizbullah fighters in southern Lebanon but said the United States was very concerned about the humanitarian situation. "Israel must take the utmost care in avoiding civilian casualties," McCormack said. Peretz to Mofaz: Where were you when Hizbullah armed? The mood in Wednesday's cabinet meeting which addressed the situation in Lebanon was defined as difficult, even dismal. The meeting lasted six hours minus the half hour break which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used to speak at length with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rockets in Kiryat Shmona Wednesday morning (Photo: Ariel Bukovza) During the meeting a harsh dispute erupted between Defense Minister Amir Peretz and his predecessor Shaul Mofaz, who currently serves as Transportation Minister. The argument started when Mofaz suggested a tactical plan to attack Hizbullah from north to south, as in, from the Litani River towards Israel. Peretz, apparently displeased by Mofaz's suggestion, turned to Mofaz and said, "What are all these plans? Where were you when Hizbullah built this whole threatening system?" "Now is not the time to get hung up on these things. If you would bring this suggestion (Ed., for the combat plan in Lebanon approved in cabinet Wednesday) on the first day of the war – then maybe," Mofaz answered. Olmert asked to soothe spirits and interrupted the quarrel, saying, "The whole world is watching us and how we are acting during this difficult time. I ask you to maintain level-headedness and equanimity." Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres commented to his fellow ministers on their performances, and the other ministers expressed their view on the fighting in Lebanon, especially regarding the failure up until now to demolish Hizbullah infrastructure. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with her German counterpart Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier , and during the following joint press conference, said: " Israel is not using military tactics to thwart international attempts at reaching a ceasefire agreement. On the contrary, we are acting together with the international community." The foreign minister further noted that Lebanese President Fouad Siniora's idea to deploy the Lebanese army to the south was "good in our eyes." With that, she clarified that the Lebanese force must be reinforced by multinational troops with effective enforcement abilities. "These forces are meant to replace Hizbullah in south Lebanon and not join them. The international community must help enforce this," she stressed.