As Operation Cast Lead enters its 19th day, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made it clear that Israel does not face any pressure to end the campaign, a senior official in Jerusalem says.
"Nobody should stand there with a stop watch or try to put a gun to our head," the official told Ynet Tuesday night.
"We don't want to see another Resolution 1701 like we did in Lebanon," he said after a day of discussions at the Prime Minister's Office. "We don't want to find ourselves tomorrow, in two days, or in five or 10 years facing a terror organization armed with missiles that cover the whole of Israel. A unilateral withdrawal on our part at this time won't guarantee that this won't happen."
"We are seeking guarantees, assurances, and for things to be clear," the official said. "The prime minister defined two objectives – an end to Hamas fire and terror, and an end to the organization's military build-up. As long as these objectives are not secured, we will not be under any pressure (to end the operation).)"
The senior official added that Israel was no longer talking about an exit strategy.
"We are not seeking an exit, but rather, success," he said. "As Olmert defined it, what we need here is a strategy of success, regardless of how much time it takes."
Turning his attention to Barack Obama's move to the White House next Tuesday, the official said this was not one of the considerations weighed by Olmert at this time.
"The prime minister is not in touch with the president-elect or his people as long as there is another serving American president" he said.
Finally, officials at the PM's Office declined to elaborate on the tensions vis-à-vis Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Earlier Tuesday, the State Department said that comments made by Olmert in respect to Rice were "100% not true." However, officials in Jerusalem insisted that Olmert's version of events was accurate, claiming that Rice misled Israel ahead of last week's Security Council vote on a Gaza ceasefire.