Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, instructed the army, on Monday afternoon, to prepare for a wide-scaled military operation in the West Bank, and strikes in the Gaza Strip.
The statements of Mofaz came during an interview with the Israeli Radio after a member of the Islamic Jihad carried a suicide bombing in Netanya on Monday; five Israelis were killed.
Mofaz stated that "Operational activities are starting in the coming hours. Some of them will continue through the night and into the coming weeks”, and added that the security establishment received explicit instructions on how to prepare for the coming operation.
Israeli military sources said that the military operations might last several weeks or even a month, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported,
The army will resume its targeted killings and intends to carry wide arrest operations against members of the armed factions, but will mainly target Islamic Jihad fighters.
Military closure was imposed over West Bank villages, in addition to increasing the number of checkpoints between Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Crossings in the Gaza Strip were closed to pedestrian traffic, but the Karni trade crossing between Gaza and Israel remained open.
Over the last few weeks, the Israeli army has been mainly operating in the areas of Jenin, Tulkarem, and Nablus; upon recent orders the operations will include northern West Bank villages.
The army aims to create continuous pressure on Islamic Jihad fighters, and will limit the freedom of movement of the residents in the three areas.
Also on Monday, Mofaz asked the Israeli Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, to allow the army to resume demolishing homes which belongs to suicide bombers.
The Israeli military establishment believes that this policy, which was always used against bombers and activists until February 2005, serves as an effective policy against future bombings.
Mazuz rejected recently similar requests made by the Israeli military established.
Israeli security officials said on Monday that Israel must reuse the practice of demolishing home in order to “increase the price paid by the families of the bombers”.
In February, Israeli army Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya’alon, appointed a military committee to examine the policy of house demolitions recommended stopping them.
The committee, headed by Major General Udi Shani, of the General Staff, reached the conclusion that no effective deterrence was proven, except in a few cases, and that the damage to Israel caused by the demolitions was greater than the benefits, Haaretz reported.
The army demolished 270 Palestinian homes in the period when the policy was applied from the summer of 2002 until the summer of 2004.
Haaretz added that Major General (res.) Yitzhak Eitan, who was in charge of the Central Command for the first two years of the Intifada, has said a few months ago that the house demolitions had the opposite effect than what Israel expected.
“The policy became a stimulation for further attacks motivated by vengeance”, Eitan added.