Dichter to call for upping IDF action

Will ask cabinet to give army green light in Gaza on Sunday; after Sderot visit: I found a battered town.

avi dichter 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
avi dichter 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter will ask the cabinet during Sunday's weekly meeting to give the army the green light to step up measures designed to put a stop to the rocket attacks from Gaza. Dichter, who visited Sderot on Saturday before the Kassam attack that seriously wounded two brothers there, will brief the ministers on his tour. Officials close to Dichter told The Jerusalem Post he would repeat his call for the political echelon to order the IDF to create a level of deterrence vis a vis Hamas in Gaza that would put an end to the daily rocket barrages. The government has been reluctant to escalate Israel's military response and has refrained from ordering either a full-scale IDF incursion or a renewal of the policy of targeting Hamas political leaders. But Saturday night's attack is likely to heighten the concern of ministers that the current combination of military strikes and limited sanctions is failing to halt the Kassam and mortar fire. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's media adviser, Mark Regev, said after the rocket attack that, "The aim of Hamas is obviously to try to kill innocent Israeli civilians, and Israel will do what needs to be done to protect our population." Dichter came back from Sderot on Saturday after being told by residents that they felt abandoned by the government. "I found a battered town where some 20 percent of residents have simply got up and left," Dichter said. The public security minister said Sderot residents told him they were living from one miracle to the next and felt there was no end in sight. "When I traveled toward Sderot," continued Dichter, "I saw crowds arriving for the Red South Festival, but when I got to Sderot, I saw desolate streets, emptied of people - people closed up inside their homes." The minister said the residents expected the government to take effective measures after so many years of suffering attacks. Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Gillerman has sent a letter of protest to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN Security Council condemning the rocket fire from Gaza as "serious terrorist actions against Israel." Gillerman, who sent the letter on Friday in response to attacks earlier that day, wrote: "These firings are part of a campaign launched by the leaders of Hamas whose principal objective is to kill Israelis."