Earlier, debkafile reported Israeli security cabinet decision to dampen military response to Hamas missile offensive which climaxed in Ashkelon Tue

The decisions reached by the security cabinet presided over by Ehud Olmert Wednesday, July 5, in the aftershocks of a Palestinian missile exploding at a school in the Ashkelon town center and the abduction of a soldier, boil down to nothing much in the way of concrete action.
A brief lexicon is in order here.
Following the cabinet meeting, Olmert and defense minister Amir Peretz continued to discuss with IDF and defense officials more detailed operational plans – meaning, the cabinet approved no operational plans, but rather the outer limits of such plans.
The operation will be broadened to target “institutions and infrastructure facilitating terrorism.” The Israeli air force has long been bombing vacant land and empty buildings to little effect. No change is indicated and no takeover of Palestinian territory.
The IDF’s operation will be prolonged and incremental – meaning nothing is changed from the current activity.
<I The IDF will broaden its operations to reduce Qassam fire. Israel will consider creating a buffer zone in northern Gaza to block Qassam missile fire against Ashkelon and Sderot. Here too there is no departure from the present tactics – certainly no commitment to deepen the Israeli incursion. If those tactics did not work before, why expect them to work now?
“We must prepare to change the rules of the game” in our dealings with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, based on the parameters presented by the defense establishment.” No one seriously pretends this was anything more than another “media slogan.”
It is no secret that Israel’s Operation Summer Rain has involved no serious counter-terror combat in the eight days since the first Israeli troops entered the southern Gaza Strip on the heels of the Hamas-led assault inside Israel that left two soldiers dead and a third, Corp. Gilead Shalit kidnapped,.
This make-believe offensive has had several consequences:
1. Gideon Shalit is now out of reach unless the IDF can stage a surprise rescue assault to free him. This option was allowed to float over the heads of the cabinet ministers Wednesday, but nothing specific was said.
2. Hamas is stepping up its efforts to kidnap Israelis – servicemen and civilians.
3. Missiles continue to rain down on Sderot, the western Negev villages, Ashkelon and Netivot. Hamas and its allied terrorist groups will persist in their effort to achieve Israeli casualties.
4. The Palestinians are in the midst of a new terror offensive from the West Bank aimed at bringing suicide bombers into Israeli towns for civilian massacres. There were several foiled attempts this week. In Jenin, Israeli troops defused two large car bombs destined for a central Israeli city, followed by the interception of a Palestinian wearing a bomb vest on his way to an industrial zone north of Tel Aviv.
5. Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups based in Lebanon will be encouraged to launch attacks on northern Israel in support of Hamas.
Israel’s sluggish and ineffectual responses to Hamas aggression coincide with the test-firing of seven ballistic missiles by North Korea, one capable of reaching the American mainland, in the face of Washington’s threats to shoot them down.
After the US national security adviser Stephen Hadley said on Tuesday that the launch of 6 missiles by the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea (DPRK) posed no apparent threat to U.S. territory as “a missile that fails after 40 seconds is not a threat to the United States,” Pyongyang followed up Wednesday with a seventh missile.
Tehran is displaying the same defiance to Washington and the West. After weeks of Iranian procrastination, the big powers demanded a reply to their proposed incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment by July 12, but the Iranians are leaving them to cool their heels until late August.
Other powers, including Russia, are taking advantage of the Bush administration’s perceived immobilization by the Iraq imbroglio to pursue their own interests. In other times, Israeli prime ministers David Ben Gurion and Menahem Begin used similar periods for stunning military operations to extricate the country from extreme peril. Failing bold action against escalating Palestinian terror initiatives, Israel will continue to fall back in the face of this spiraling threat.

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