Livni demands gov't discuss Kassams

Peretz: Restraint won't go on forever; rocket lands near Sderot kindergarten.

livni upstairs 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
livni upstairs 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hours after a Kassam rocket slammed into a Sderot home near a kindergarten on Monday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni slammed the government's decision-making abilities, protesting that the IDF's request to respond to rocket attacks was not being discussed at all. Livni said she hoped that such a discussion would take place in the cabinet and not in the press, and added that the military echelon must present ministers with plans, options and scenarios that would enable the cabinet to decide on a course of action. The foreign minister's criticism - most likely directed implicitly at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - came only a day after a meeting between the two yielded an agreement to work together within the Olmert government framework. The Prime Minister's Office however, said that Olmert had in fact discussed the issue with visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday, telling him that Israel will not hesitate to respond "severely" to continued rocket fire. "The Kassam attacks constitute a tangible threat to Israel. Israel cannot show restraint forever," Olmert said. Tensions have been high between Olmert and Livni since she called on the prime minister to resign last week in the wake of the Winograd report. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that while Israel was making every effort to prevent an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, terror organizations should not delude themselves into believing that Israel would maintain restraint forever. Speaking at a ceremony in honor of companies that give special benefits to employees serving in the reserves, Peretz declared that "the obligation to protect Israeli citizens is not up for debate." The rocket attack on Sderot occurred early Monday morning, less than a day after another rocket attack on a local gas station wounded two people. No one was hurt in Monday's attack, but sources said one person was being treated for shock, and the building was lightly damaged. The kindergarten children had not yet begun to arrive. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The organization's armed wing, Al-Quds Brigades, said it was in retaliation for an IDF operation two days ago, during which three of the group's members were killed.