Following Wednesday's five-hour Jerusalem meeting on the situation in Gaza, which took place in the midst of another mortar barrage on the western Negev, the political-security cabinet issued a statement saying Israel would give Egypt's efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian terror groups a chance but at the same time gear up for a possible wide-scale operation in the Strip.
Ministers who took part in the meeting were asked not to comment on it. Most cabinet members who were asked for their opinion prior to Wednesday's meeting said they were in favor of a broad operation, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "it is the cabinet members' responsibility to pay close attention to what the IDF chief of staff (Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi) and the General Staff have to say regarding what can or cannot be achieved through military action in Gaza".
Palestinian sources told Ynet that despite the increased attacks on the Negev, a ceasefire agreement was imminent.
During the session some 100 residents of Israel's battered southern region urged the cabinet to decide on Israel's response to the incessant rocket and mortar fire.
Earlier Wednesday a spokesman for Hamas warned that should Israel decide to invade Gaza, the coastal enclave would become a "graveyard for IDF soldiers".