Israeli leaders meet to discuss attacks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister met to discuss the  cease-fire with Hamas and an Israeli response to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday’s meeting with Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, as well as security establishment heads, was called by Livni, who on Tuesday told a Tel Aviv University conference that Israel should respond militarily to rocket attacks, which would act as "deterrence" against future attacks.

During a visit to the beleaguered town of Sderot Tuesday, Olmert told local children that Israelis "will never flee from our homes. We won’t defend but will attack."

The ministers received intelligence and operational briefings, according to the prime minister’s media adviser. A media blackout has been imposed on details of the discussion.

In addition, Olmert emphasized that despite being in an election period, the Israel Defense Forces and the security establishment must remain outside the political debate. It is the responsibility of the political leadership to make decisions, he said, and the responsibility of the security bodies to carry them out.

An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas that went into effect six months ago is set to end Dec. 19.

Dozens of  Kassam and mortar rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel since last week. Some 200 rockets have hit Israel since Nov. 4, when Israeli soldiers blew up a tunnel near the Gaza-Israel border that was to be used to kidnap Israeli solders into Gaza.

A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza hit the western Negev Wednesday morning, causing no damage or injuries.


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