Grad attack scene Beersheba 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened the security cabinet Thursday evening for the third meeting
in as many days, though government officials denied that it was called to deal
with the escalation of violence in the South.
The forum met early Tuesday
morning and drew up parameters of how Israel would respond to the developments
in the south, namely that Jerusalem would not initiate a major offensive in
Gaza, but would continue to thwart attacks, be they the launching of missiles
against Israel, or efforts to infiltrate into the country.
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South pounded by rockets, prepares for more violence
the same forum met, and though the situation in the South was discussed
somewhat, the main focus was on September and the Palestinian Authority’s
apparent determination to go ahead with its recognition gambit at the
The agenda for Thursday evening’s meeting was not revealed
beforehand, and no statement was issued afterward.
indicated there has been no change in the government’s policies regarding the
situation in the south, and that the military was still guided by the principles
set down at its Tuesday morning meeting.
National Security Council head
Ya’acov Amidror, meanwhile, issued a statement Thursday saying that Israel and
Egypt would jointly investigate the killing last week of three Egyptian security
officers, following the terrorist attack near Eilat.
Both countries will
conduct independent investigations and then share and discuss the
Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Othman,
was quoted in the Palestinian Ma’an news agency claiming that Egypt was
instrumental in fending off a largescale Israeli operation in
According to the report, Othman said Israel did not launch a
large-scale operation because of fear of the “Egyptian people’s reaction.”
Israeli officials have acknowledged that a wide range of considerations were
taken into account in deciding how to respond, including the political
uncertainty in Egypt and the crisis in Syria.
Othman said that tension
still existed in the Egyptian-Israeli relationship in the aftermath of the
attack, and that Cairo wanted from Israel a “clear, strong apology and a pledge
not to repeat such acts in the future.”
He was quoted as saying that
expressions of regret articulated by President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister
Ehud Barak were inadequate.
Othman’s words, however, contradict reports
that Barak’s expression of regret was drawn up in coordination with Egyptian
The entire incident has underlined for Israeli decision
makers the difficulty in dealing with Egypt in the post- Mubarak era. Currently
there is a triangle that consists of the transitional military council, the
government and the street, with each pulling in its own direction and no one
firmly and clearly in charge.