Associates of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday that Israel's restraint policy in the face of Qassam attacks will not last long.
"If the Qassam fire continues, we will have no other option but to respond," an official close to the PM said. The statement comes in wake of the ongoing fire on the western Negev and Ashkelon, and after 10 rockets have been fired by Palestinian gunmen in the last 24 hours alone. A senior official at the Prime Minister's Office said that Israel does not wish to initiate a confrontation in the area, and that in the meantime, the restraint will be maintained.
"We don't want to reach another escalation. It is clear to us that counter attacks or other Israeli actions will strengthen Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Such a reaction might cause Hamas and Fatah to unite forces against Israel once again." The official explained. He added that during the current ceasefire the number of rockets launched against Israel significantly dropped. "Despite of the restraint, the prime minister is evaluating the developments every day. As Abbas has been notified, Israel will not restrain itself if the fire continues," the official concluded.
Ynet News April 29, 2007:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted Sunday that Israel would launch military operations against gunmen in the Gaza Strip if rocket attacks persisted. "Israel has no interest in an escalation in Gaza, but we will not be able to ignore the continuation of Qassam fire and infiltration attempts by terror groups," Olmert told the cabinet.
Olmert added Israel sent warnings to the Palestinians through international mediators that the Jewish State might have to launch ground incursions in Gaza in order to protect southern cities from the threat of rocket attacks.
I am having real issues seeing the Olmert/Kadima drawn line in the sand - even with my reading glasses on. And if I am having problems; how much do you want to bet the Palestinian Authority cannot see the line either?