Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Operation "Summer Rain"

Israeli soldiers praying before moving into Gaza.

With IDF troops establishing a foothold in Rafah, Gaza, Olmert alerts the Palestinians that Israel won't balk at extreme action, while assuring the world that Israel has no intention of reoccupying Gaza and staying there. From the Jerusalem Post
"We have one objective - to assure the release of Gilad Shalit, and to bring him home healthy and safe," he said.

Olmert reiterated Israel's stance that negotiations with terrorists were out of the question.
The incursion into Gaza brought Olmert some rare support from the right wing opposition.

Justice Minister Haim Ramon announced on Wednesday:
Hamas' Syria-based leader, Khaled Meshal, is a target for assassination for ordering the kidnapping of an Israel Defense Forces soldier in the Gaza Strip.

"He is definitely in our sights... he is a target," Ramon told Army Radio. "Khaled Meshal, as someone who is overseeing, actually commanding the terror acts, is definitely a target."

During his visit to the family of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres blames Khaled Meshal for the Hamas policy whereby Shalit was kidnapped and is now being denied release, even at this price. From Ynet:
Upon his departure, Peres pointed an accusing finger at the individual who, in his opinion, stands behind the kidnapping. "Commands regarding

this event came from Syria, the current residence of a man determined to stand in the way of peace. We are well aware that Syria is providing refuge to someone who wants to create victims and destroy prospects for peace. I am referring to Khaled Mashaal - the man who, most likely, gave the order for the kidnap and is preventing the soldier's release; Syria is housing him openly."

He added that the central aim of Israel's policy in this matter is Gilad's fast and safe release, using joint political, defense and military means. "We have asked all nations who contribute financially in Gaza, Judea and Samaria to withhold transferring funds prior to the soldier's release. We have asked these nations to utilize political pressure, which Egypt has certainly done and which Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) is trying to do. On our part, we will use all means at our disposal, within reason of course, until Gilad is returned home."

Syria had already taken steps to protect Meshal before the Gaza incursion, instructing him to limit his movements, which would make it harder for Israelis to direct a missile at a car in which he was traveling.


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