Olmert: The Gaza ground invasion was unavoidable

At the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting Sunday, Jan. 4, prime minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel’s ground invasion, in its second day, could not be avoided as the only way to deter Hamas’ continuing attack on civilians in southern Israel. Addressing Arab governments, Iran and Hizballah, Olmert stressed: “We have no interest in opening more fronts aside from the south in the north and east. But we are committed to maximum vigilance lest someone seizes the chance of trying to change the stable reality.
Saturday night, defense minister Ehud Barak said he had approved the ground operation after examining every other option because there was no other effective means of protecting Israeli civilians from an ongoing hostile attack. “The operation will not be easy or short. The days ahead will not be easy for citizens of the south.”
He said the “North is under constant surveillance. He also ordered the Israel navy to blockade Gaza’s waters up to 40 km from the coast.
debkafile‘ sources report that in early December Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah secretly visited Tehran and met with senior Revolutionary Guards officers. He later welcomed in Beirut the al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani. Another Iranian dignitary, Saeed Jalili, chairman of the national security council and senior nuclear negotiator was due in Beirut Sunday, Jan. 4 after talks in Damascus with Syria, Hamas and Jihad Islami leaders.

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