"Israel is very concerned and is monitoring the situation closely, but at this point has no intention of intervening," said a senior State official in Jerusalem on Thursday night.
The official also said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not cancel his scheduled trip to Washington DC this weekend. Olmert's office said on Thursday that the IDF would not take action in Gaza but that the prime minister plans to discuss the recent alarming events in the Strip with US President George W. Bush and UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon in his meetings with the two early next week.
"Israel intends to work with the international community to deal with the serious and troubling events in Gaza," said Olmert's office. Olmert is reported to have followed the escalating events in Gaza closely throughout the day.
"When the infighting began the prime minister warned that if Hamas overtakes Gaza it may have an impact on the entire region. Since this is, unfortunately, the way things have played out, we are preparing ourselves accordingly," said the State official.
Olmert's office said that Hamas has not taken into account the 1.5 million people living in Gaza who they will have to take care now: "Gaza relies on Israel for its humanitarian needs. All of its crossings are linked to Israel. We will examine the situation and decide what should be done with the new situation, but will not be held responsible for the fate of Gaza's residents."
"Several possible responses are being considered at the moment. Among other things we may decide on separate policies for Gaza and the West Bank. We do not want the infighting to spill into the West Bank and for Hamas to gain strength there. Likewise we will assess the situation of the Philadelphi route. The National Security Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are both studying the matter. Only the security cabinet will determine the course of action Israel will adopt in light of this new reality," said the official.
State sources in Jerusalem told Ynet that Israel has long since warned the international community of the dangerous combination of Hamas and Fatah in a doomed unity government. "We warned against cooperating with this government and recognizing it. Today Israel was proven right. Today we saw what Hamas really is and what its intentions are for this region. However it is possible that the new situation can be used for change.
"Israel will seek the help of the international community and moderate Arab nations to achieve this. It is clear that Israel won't risk involving its troops in clashes between Hamas and Fatah, turning to the international community to help is our alternative at this time."