'It's too soon to discuss exit strategy'

Jewish politicians want IDF ground troops to be free to operate; Majadle stops boycotting cabinet.

Majadle 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Majadle 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A day into the ground incursion in the Gaza Strip, Jewish politicians from across the political spectrum said Sunday that it is too soon to start worrying about an exit strategy. The only one who came out against the operation in Sunday's cabinet meeting was Israel's first Arab minister, Science, Culture and Sports Minister Ghaleb Majadle, who angered his ministerial colleagues when he boycotted last week's cabinet meeting. Majadle was scolded by his party chairman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, for not coming last week. This week he came but criticized Israel's ground operations in Gaza. "Peace is the only way to solve problems in the region," Majadle said. The only ministers who abstained on the ground operation in Friday's security cabinet meeting, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai and Vice Premier Haim Ramon, did so because they wanted the decision to specifically call for toppling the Hamas regime in the Strip. Yishai said the operations were a key opportunity to ensure that Hamas's rule over Gaza would end. Asked who should control Gaza if Israel were to topple Hamas, Yishai said that it did not matter as long as the IDF did not have to remain there to prevent further rocket attacks on the South. Even Meretz continued to express cautious support for the ongoing operations even though they expressed opposition to a ground attack last week. Meretz leader Haim Oron said the IDF should leave Gaza as soon as possible but refrained from calling for an immediate withdrawal. "At a time when the IDF soldiers are deep in Gaza, our hearts are with them," Oron said. "We oppose staying in the Gaza mud for an extended stay. The longer it goes on, the more suffering there will be for residents of Gaza, our soldiers will be more endangered and the situation would become more complicated militarily, diplomatically and ethically."