Thursday, March 06, 2008

Security Cabinet Decides: End All Rocket Attacks from Gaza

Hana Levi Julian

The Security Cabinet decided in a longer-than-usual meeting Wednesday to put an end to the rocket and mortar attacks fired by Gaza terrorists at Israel.

The resolution adopted by the cabinet included a decision to destroy the Hamas regime in Gaza, while continuing to negotiate a final status agreement with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. The resolution included a decision to coordinate with Egypt the efforts to topple Hamas. The cabinet also expressed its determination "to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, to the extent that the matter depends on Israel."

It is the first time that a formal decision has been taken to completely eradicate missile attacks launched from Gaza.

There were no details on how the IDF would carry out the orders or on what the soldiers will and will not be allowed to do.

More than 180 rockets have been fired at southern Israel in the past seven days, including at least 20 long-range 122 mm Iranian "Grad" missiles.

On Wednesday, Israeli authorities discovered chemicals used for making explosives just one hour after Israel opened up Gaza crossings for shipments of humanitarian goods. The chemicals were discovered in a sealed container and were intended for use in Kassam rockets.

Officials have also noted in the past that much of the "humanitarian aid" sent into to Gaza never reached the residents for whom it was donated. On several occasions, IDF soldiers discovered bomb-making ingredients packed in sacks marked "sugar" and other donated food supplies waiting to pass through the border crossings from Israel into Gaza, most recently on Wednesday.

According to sources in Ramallah, the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar has been donating millions of dollars per month to help relieve the poverty suffered by Gaza residents – but Hamas operatives have stolen much of it to purchase advanced weaponry.

The aid is reportedly meant to strengthen Abbas, who is considered to be a "moderate" force in PA affairs despite the numerous terror attacks carried out by Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group.

The PA population elected the Hamas terrorist organization to lead the government in a landslide victory two years ago, although Abbas, who is leader of the rival Fatah faction, remained as PA Chairman.

The two factions spent more than a year fighting for control of the PA in a bloody civil war that ended in June 2007 with Hamas taking over Gaza. According to the Foreign Ministry, 1,018 rockets and 937 mortar shells have been fired at Sderot and other communities in the western Negev since Hamas conquered Gaza.

Abbas and his Fatah faction retained control over Judea and Samaria, but have been unable, or unwilling, to restrain terrorists in the region from initiating attacks on Israeli civilians.

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