Cabinet Ministers Favor Gaza Operation

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's Cabinet is nearly unanimous on the need for a large-scale military incursion in the Gaza Strip.

"Israel must launch a large-scale operation in Gaza against Hamas and the rest of the terror organizations," said Ze'ev Boim, minister of housing, adding that a cease-fire would give Hamas time to rearm "before the next round."

"Everyone understands that any cease-fire would only be temporary. Hamas is under pressure. The [economic] blockade did its job," he said.

"We must act. The question is in what way," said Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai. "It is impossible to accept a virtual calm, but if this will be a serious cease-fire, then there's room to talk," he said.

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said Egyptian attempts at a temporary calm would be "exploited by Hamas" and "wouldn't hold for the long term."

"It [a truce] won't last. Hamas will violate it and say it has no control over the other groups on the ground," Sheetrit told Cabinet ministers.

Nonetheless, he would favor a cease-fire that included the safe return of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Corporal Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was kidnapped on June 25, 2006, in a cross-border attack on an IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip.

According to officials in the Defense Department, Defense Minister Ehud Barak favors a medium-level operation that would exact a price from the Hamas terror group before Israel would agree to a temporary cease-fire.

Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post

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