Shelling in Gaza (Archive)
Jerusalem is struggling to explain what has been criticized at its lax response to the escalation in southern Israel over the weekend.
A senior political source told Ynet on Monday that, "You cannot rush into war. It would be a mistake to allow a murderous terror cell to drag us into war in Gaza."
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The decision to defer any ground operation in the Gaza Strip, he added, stemmed from the need "to make any such decision in a responsible, smart manner. You don't rush into war, nor do you enter it carelessly.
"The entire Middle East is boiling over now, and we have to choose our path very carefully," he said. "We have to look at the entire region and decide how it could be affected, and what the consequences may be for us. It would be a mistake to get dragged into a war."
Jerusalem sources stressed that despite the armistice the IDF will continue thwarting terror attacks.
A political source said that as long as the Gaza groups maintain the lull, Israel "will not instigate an operation in Gaza and will not target tunnels"; further qualifying that "If terror cells are detected, they will be destroyed without qualms. We will not take any chances in that respect."
The armistice, another senior source in Jerusalem said, was declared by Hamas unilaterally and without negotiations with Israel, Egypt or the United States.
In a statement made earlier Monday, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said that Gaza's rulers "have reached an understanding on the ceasefire issue between the factions and Israel. The factions all confirmed that they are committed to the same points that Israel has committed to."
The government suffered harsh public criticism over what many have called its lame response to the worst rocket salvo to hit the south since Operation Cast Lead, but according to one Jerusalem source, "at the end of the day it all comes down to the results."
The Gaza groups, he noted, were the ones to ask for a ceasefire: "They understood where the wind was blowing. Would I like to see a group that threatens to abduct Israelis getting hit harder? Of course. But the question is, where do you go from there?
"One difference between analysts and the prime minister can be described in one word – responsibility. Where would we be, if the PM's only consideration was the math of how many we have killed versus how many they have killed. It is a consideration, but it should never be the only one."
Once of the issues discussed over the rocket-riddled weekend was the need to acquire more Iron Dome batteries: "Each additional battery means another city that's at lesser risk.
"We have to ask whether going into war while cities are unprotected is prudent, but that's not the kind of question you ask when an order is given to strike a terror cell."
Any wide scale operation will require meticulous preparation by the IDF, he added: "We will be better prepared for any future war, should it happen. But that doesn’t mean we want war. We just need to be ready, should we need to take action, but a country doesn’t rush into war."
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