Cabinet ministers back operation, urge continuation 'til goals reached

On the 16th day of Operation Cast Lead, cabinet ministers convened in the weekly cabinet meeting commented on the ongoing Gaza operation. Communications Minister Ariel Atias on Sunday afternoon said that he had the impression that "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seeking more public backing, and that this operation won't end till the goals are reached." Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit also stated that the goals of the operation were "to bring a long-term end to the fire on southern residents, and put an end to the smuggling. We would be happy if these objectives could be reached in other [non-military] ways, otherwise, we will continue [with our current operation]." Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim was more direct in expressing the necessity of Operation Cast Lead. "If we don't expose the infrastructure, including the missile-production lines and take control of the Philadelphi Corridor, I think that in the next round [of violent confrontations] we will be hit by longer-range missiles and not-yet used weaponry, such as anti-aircraft cannons," warned Boim.