Tension is mounting in the government before a cabinet meeting that will determine the State's response to the ongoing fire from Gaza towards Israel. Vice Premier Haim Ramon condemned the ceasefire, saying that it had failed. Shas Chairman Eli Yishai called for an air strike.
The government is set to hear a security briefing on Sunday, in which Ministers Tzipi Livni, Shaul Mofaz, Meir Sheetrit, and Yishai are preparing to call for harsher retaliation against the artillery fire from the Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed a contrary opinion, against a military operation in the Strip. However Barak directed the IDF to be prepared for such a contingency. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would like to see a harsher response, but added that he did not necessarily support the military option.
Minister Ramon said, "Barak's policy in Gaza has been a complete failure and it is harming the residents of the south as well as Israel's security. I demand that the prime minister hold an emergency hearing and change the policies regarding Gaza and its vicinity immediately."
Minister Yishai said, "The residents of the Gaza vicinity and Sderot are receiving the message that there is no government in Jerusalem. We must strike from the air against the Qassam industry. No one is immune. It's impossible to assess the mental damage being done to the southern residents, yet people are acting as if their hands are tied.
"It is our moral duty to decide without delay. We can't continue with this virtual ceasefire that is costing us in blood."