The Israeli government stepped up its threats to invade the Gaza Strip despite its pullout from the Strip last year. The announcement comes one day after the United States blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for an end to attacks against Palestinians.

The Council statement, drafted by Arab nations, follows a week of extensive military operations and tank shelling carried by the Israeli army in which 18 Palestinians, including two children, were killed.

Riyadh Mansour, the Palestinian Observer at the United Nations, accused the United States on Friday of "shielding and protecting Israeli activities against the Palestinian people."

"It was obvious that many of their concerns were accommodated but yet they kept coming back and coming back for additional things”, Mansour stated, “It was obvious they did not want the Security Council to have a position”.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton claimed that the draft which took three days of intense negotiations "was disproportionately critical of Israel”.

Also, Israeli military officials said that a wide ground invasion to the Gaza Strip could be conducted in the future.

Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplanski and Major General Yitzhak Harel said they do not believe that even such an invasion could stop the Palestinian fighters from firing homemade shells at Israeli areas close to the Gaza Strip.

Kaplanski did not rule out the possibility of re-invading the Gaza Strip and said that “when time comes, we will invade”. However, he admitted that previous invasions and wide operations failed to stop the firing of homemade shells.

He did not deny that the army had extended the so called “security zone” in the northern part of the Gaza Strip; the expansion means the the bombardment of the “open areas” close to the Israeli borders would  barely be 100 meters away from the nearest Palestinian home.